RE: Future tense use in technical documentation

Subject: RE: Future tense use in technical documentation
From: salatas <salatas -at- micron -dot- com>
To: "'Sybille Sterk'" <sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 09:46:29 -0700

Sybille Sterk wrote:

"When you click the X button the X dialog is displayed" (this is what I
normally write)
"When you click the X button the X dialog will be displayed" (this is what
my boss wants me to write)

What tense would you use?

Salette Latas responds:

I would write:

"Click the X button. The X dialog box displays."

It's simple, present tense, action and reaction. I'm aware of the
translation issues with "displays," but I still prefer it to the passive "is
displayed" or the mysterious "appears."

Salette Latas
Technical Writer
salatas -at- micron -dot- com




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