About Hemingway Editor
The Hemingway Editor is a desktop app that checks how readable a text is — it’s like a spellchecker, but for style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.
Too often, our words are like our thoughts — innumerable and disorganized. Almost any bit of writing could use some cutting. Less is more, etc.
So, the Hemingway Editor will highlight (in yellow and red) where your writing is too dense. Try removing needless words or splitting the sentence into two. Your readers will thank you.
How it Works
Hemingway builds on the innovations of researchers of a field called “Readability.” These researchers study how understandable a piece of writing is. Part of that work involves trying to decide which U.S. grade level is required to understand your text.
In fact, Ernest Hemingway’s work scores as low 5th grade, despite his adult audience. Writing that scores at a 15th-grade level is not better than writing at an 8th-grade level. In fact, a high-grade level often means it is confusing and tedious for any reader. To help you notice sentences that are difficult to read, Hemingway highlights them in yellow. For the most difficult sentences, it uses a red highlight.
Here is how it looks:
Hemingway App and Technical Writing
Why do you, a technical writer, should pay attention to the Hemingway app? Well, the main reason is that the app supports the readability metrics. Readability metrics help to indicate the accessibility of text, indicating how easy it is to read and understand. So, due to them, your texts will be easy-to-interpret and users will gladly read your documentation.
If you’re interested in SEO, readability metrics are also your best friends. Google has even publicly stated that readability is one of the factors in its ranking algorithm. Nowadays, search engines became more human-oriented and now they’re better at predicting what people want to read as people are more interested in relevant and high-quality content.
Moreover, the Hemingway app helps to improve the following text aspects:
- Adverbs. Adverbs are usually unnecessary in technical documentation. They just make the content hard to understand. To help you cut the adverb scourge from your work, Hemingway highlights them in blue.
- Vocabulary. It doesn’t matter whether your documentation is for a general audience or for professionals of a specific sphere, your content should be easy-to-understand. The Hemingway app highlights big and complicated words and suggests common synonyms if they exist.
- Passive Voice. Passive voice is inappropriate because it makes content less readable. Hemingway helps to draw attention and improve this aspect.
As for me, I don’t use this app because ClickHelp, the tool that I use for technical writing, provides users with the readability metrics, so you don’t have to copy your text from your help authoring tool and paste it to the Hemingway app. Moreover, ClickHelp scans your content according to the plenty of popular metrics.
Below, you can see the full list of readability metrics that are provided by ClickHelp:
Do you use Hemingway for technical writing?