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Technical Communications Toolbox 2019

Interested in teaching yourself or your students how to improve their professional writing skills? The Technical Communications Toolbox is intended to help students write clearly and concisely, regardless of their specialty, for a variety of audiences. Regardless of the audience, being clear, accurate and complete is key, and these tips and tricks will help any engineer meet that standard.

In the Toolbox

Writing

Technical writing is not like writing for an essay or newspaper article. Technical writing generally has distinct features, such as the use of headings to organize information; use of table and figures to present information; and a clear and concise writing style.

Figures, Tables, Equations

One of the things that distinguishes technical communication is the heavy use of Figures, Tables, and Equations. These are a critical part of the communication, perhaps more important than the writing itself, and should be presented with the same level of care as the writing.

Presentations

Visual presentations have a powerful impact on viewers. Preparing a professional, yet interesting, presentation can be even more important than writing a professional report. Take the time to prepare a presentation carefully.

Spreadsheets

You may not think that a spreadsheet is a form of technical communication…but they are. Often spreadsheets are used for engineering calculations and are shared with other engineers, bosses, even clients. Once shared, it becomes communication!

Examples of Technical Writing

Examples of technical writing show the use of headings, table and figures. Real-world reports includes examples of Laboratory, Design, and Technical Reports illustrating appropriate formatting and language use.

Examples of Student Writing

Examples of student writing show the proper formatting, language, voice, and use of figures. Samples include course project notebooks, homework assignments, lab reports, resumes, and poster sessions; as well as tips for email and homework.

Remember, all written documents (paper and digital) are a permanent record. They may become a legal record as well. Always be clear, accurate and complete in your writing.

You are not just writing to be understood, you are writing to be not misunderstood.PROFESSOR JACK BREEN,UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, JULY 2000
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