Chapter Titles in Tech. Documentation

Subject: Chapter Titles in Tech. Documentation
From: johanne -dot- cadorette -at- locusdialog -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 14:42:31 -0600

What's the word on using gerunds in headings in technical documentation?

My colleague and I are questioning some of the practices a previous
documentation manager (who we lost in a coporate split and was never
replaced) had instituted in our department, and this is one of them. In
our guides (administration and installation guides for the system), most
of the headings contain gerunds ("Creating Transfer Entries," "Exporting
Report Data," etc.), and we're finding that this sometimes makes the
headings needlessy cumbersome. There are times when the gerund isn't
really what's important ("Setting Post-Audiotex Behavior," for example.
Who cares about "setting? in this case? It could be any other similar word
like "determining," "assigning," etc.)

What's more, when these headings are translated into French, they end up
being soooo long that we have to change the French anyway.

We're wondering if there's a logical reason for using gerunds in headings,
whether it's some kind of tech writing standard we're not aware of. Is it
because these are user guide where what is being described is how to use
something, as opposed to a reference guide where the thing itself is
what's important?

Why shouldn't "Setting Post-Audiotex Behavior" simply be "Post-Audiotex

Any thoughts on this?

Johanne Cadorette
johanne -dot- cadorette -at- locusdialog -dot- com

Check out the new release of RoboDemo, our easy-to-use tutorial software.
Plus, buy RoboHelp Office in August and save $100 with our mail-in rebate.
Get details and download free trial versions at

TECHWR-L is supported by ads and sponsorships...and donations.
You can help maintain the TECHWR-L community with donations

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: I USED to know how to do this...
Next by Author: Woops: Headings, not chapter titles
Previous by Thread: Re: Subject: Dual Monitor users
Next by Thread: Re: Chapter Titles in Tech. Documentation

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads