Ch 5: Elements of Technical Documents

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to learn more about developing and writing technical documents. Each lesson is followed by an online self-assessment, which can help you understand which areas you need to review.

Elements of Technical Documents - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Video lessons led by an experienced instructor will take you through the key elements of technical documents. You'll gain a broad understanding of primary and secondary elements, and see the role of visual components, too. Topics covered include how to prepare specific parts of technical documents according to their purpose and role. At the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the primary parts of a technical document and their purpose
  • Describe the supplementary parts of a technical document and their purpose
  • Articulate the ethical aspects of creating or using certain elements of technical documents
  • Discuss the layout and design of technical documents and why it matters

Video Objective
Titles & Headings in Technical Documents Discuss purpose, design and placement of titles and headings.
Front Matter, Body & End Matter Describe the role of these items in drafting approaches to technical documents.
Summaries & Abstracts in Technical Documents Identify the purpose, design, types and effectiveness of summaries and abstracts.
Definitions in Technical Writing Discuss caveats in writing definitions as used in technical documents.
Types of Definitions Used in Technical Writing Identify and describe the kinds of definitions used.
How to Use Definitions in Technical Writing Discuss how definitions are used according to kind of document.
Ethical Dilemmas & Mistakes When Composing Definitions in Technical Writing Describe common problems with writing definitions.
Technical Descriptions vs. Definitions Describe the purpose of technical descriptions; compare them to definitions.
Introductions & Conclusions of Technical Documents Describe components of introductions and conclusions; provide tips for writing these parts of a technical document.
Recommendations in Technical Documents Describe the purpose and content in recommendations.
The Role of Visuals in Communication Define visuals and talk about where, why and when they're used.
Using Visuals to Present Data: Textual Graphics vs. Visual Graphics Compare and contrast types of visuals.
Creating, Selecting & Using Visuals for Workplace Communication Lay out the process for taking a visual from idea to implementation in a technical document.
Ethical Considerations When Using Visuals in Workplace Communication Describe the role of ethics in creating and using visuals.
Supplements in Technical Documents: Glossary, Footnotes, Appendices, & Indices Identify the purpose and format of supplemental components.
Layout & Design of Technical Documents Describe layout and design options and implications of both.

19 Lessons in Chapter 5: Elements of Technical Documents
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Titles & Headings in Technical Documents

1. Titles & Headings in Technical Documents

Titles and headings alert readers to the topics covered in a technical document. This video explains the purpose, design, and placement of titles and headings in technical writing.

Front Matter, Body & End Matter in Technical Documents

2. Front Matter, Body & End Matter in Technical Documents

In a technical document, it is sometimes necessary to include information at the beginning and end to help organize and explain the content. This video explains the types of material included in the front matter, body and end matter of a document.

Summaries & Abstracts in Technical Documents

3. Summaries & Abstracts in Technical Documents

People want to know whether a document is relevant to their business without having to read the entire document. This video explains the different types of summaries and abstracts and how to write them.

What Are Definitions in Technical Writing?

4. What Are Definitions in Technical Writing?

Including definitions in technical documents is a common requirement for reader comprehension. This video explains why definitions are needed, when they're used, the types of definitions, and where they're located in a technical document.

Types of Definitions Used in Technical Writing

5. Types of Definitions Used in Technical Writing

Including definitions in technical writing help improve comprehension of the document. This video explains the three main types of definitions in technical documents and provides examples of how to write the definitions.

How to Use Definitions in Technical Writing

6. How to Use Definitions in Technical Writing

Technical writing often has a number of rather technical terms to go along with it, but that doesn't mean they have to slow down the pace of a document. In this lesson, we look at how to add definitions to technical writing.

Ethical Dilemmas in Technical Writing

7. Ethical Dilemmas in Technical Writing

Technical writers must be aware of ethical dilemmas that could mislead readers. This video addresses how to avoid ethical dilemmas in order to keep you and your company's reputation positive.

Mistakes of Composing Definitions in Technical Writing

8. Mistakes of Composing Definitions in Technical Writing

Writing definitions for technical documents goes beyond just giving the dictionary definition. This video explains common mistakes to avoid when writing definitions for technical documents.

Writing Technical Descriptions

9. Writing Technical Descriptions

Descriptions are valuable for identifying the physical features of a product. This video explains the elements of good descriptions and shows you how to write them.

Writing Technical Specifications

10. Writing Technical Specifications

Businesses must meet specifications during the creation of a product. This video provides the definition of a technical specification and explains how to write a closed specification.

Introductions of Technical Documents

11. Introductions of Technical Documents

Introductions are vital to helping your reader understand the context, purpose and structure of your document. This video explains the purpose and content of introductions in technical writing.

Conclusions of Technical Documents

12. Conclusions of Technical Documents

Technical writing should always end with a conclusion in order to provide readers with a final outcome of the presented data. This video explains why and how to write a conclusion for your technical documents.

Recommendations in Technical Documents

13. Recommendations in Technical Documents

Some technical documents require you to tell the reader what actions to take as a result of the information provided. This video explains how to write a recommendation for technical documents.

The Role of Visuals in Communication

14. The Role of Visuals in Communication

Visuals used in business communication can help with message development. This lesson will explain how the use of visuals can increase understanding, development, communication, and the retainment of a message.

Using Visuals to Present Data: Textual Graphics vs. Visual Graphics

15. Using Visuals to Present Data: Textual Graphics vs. Visual Graphics

Textual and visual graphics can aid in visually presenting data to a business audience. You must first identify the type of data you will be presenting and then decide whether it is details, patterns or relationships being communicated.

Ethical Considerations When Using Visuals in Workplace Communication

16. Ethical Considerations When Using Visuals in Workplace Communication

There are important ethical considerations when using visuals in workplace communication. This lesson covers specific guidelines that individuals can follow to ensure that the visual message is an appropriate representation of the truth.

Glossary, Footnotes & Appendix in Technical Documents

17. Glossary, Footnotes & Appendix in Technical Documents

Often, a technical writer will need to provide additional information to the reader that doesn't fit smoothly into the main text of the document. This video explains how that extra information can be included as part of a glossary, footnote, or appendix.

Layout & Design of Technical Documents

18. Layout & Design of Technical Documents

Being a clear writer is only half the battle when it comes to technical writing. In addition, you should make sure that your pages are laid out and designed clearly. This lesson provides guidance on how to do both.

Comparing Informal & Formal Technical Reports

19. Comparing Informal & Formal Technical Reports

Being able to compose both formal and informal technical reports is a crucial part of any role with an organization. In this lesson, we look at the difference, focusing on both oral and written reports.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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