Hyphenation in technical documentation

Subject: Hyphenation in technical documentation
From: Paul Pehrson <paulpehrson -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 11:46:01 -0700

TECHWR-L Community;

I'm new to the list, so I want to start by telling you all hello. I
recently graduated with a B.A. in English with a technical writing
emphasis and and editing minor, and now work for a software
development company as an associate technical writer.

My company produces volumes of technical documentation supporting our
software. Our documentation is being produced using FrameMaker 7.1. My
tech writing and editing classes in college never covered Frame, so
there has been a bit of a learning curve as I've been switching.

Today I talked to my supervisor about a problem with auto hyphenation
in Frame. Using Frame's help, I figured out how to disallow
hyphenation for certain words. As we were discussing this topic, he
told me that recently another writer told him that "good technical
writing" doesn't use hyphens, and we should update our template
documents to turn off auto hyphenation.

Here's my question for all you seasoned professionals: what do you
think about hyphenation in technical documentation? Do you think
hyphenation is okay as long as you don't hyphenate jargon words?
Should hyphenation be turned off for a whole project? Where do you
draw the line (pun intended)?

I look forward to participating in the TECHWR-L community! Thanks (in
advance) for your responses.


Paul Pehrson
Salt Lake City, UT



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