TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Diederik Links wonders: <<What is the best way to write a measure with
tolerance - where both '+' and '-' are equal - in a text (or
non-technical illustration)? I normally write: "Drill a hole with a
diameter of 25 +/-0.2 mm." "Drill a hole with a diameter of 25 ±0.2
If I'm seeing the symbols correctly, there's nothing wrong with either
approach; in fact, they seem to be identical on my computer, possibly
because of a font encoding problem. (You're using a Dutch system,
right?) You noted that:
<<Because the '±'-sign means 'approximately' (the hole can be 24 mm or
26 mm) and not 'plus or minus' (the hole must be between 24.8 mm and
I see the "plus or minus" sign on my computer, which does not mean
approximately: it means that you should add or subtract the tolerance
from the specified number.
If you mean approximately, it requires a different symbol than the one
you typed. If I'm understanding this correctly, and your readers
understand the concept of tolerance, this could be expressed most
clearly as "a 25-mm-diameter hole (with a tolerance of 0.2 mm)". That
means that the ideal hole is 25 mm in diameter, but that it could be
0.2 mm wider or narrower without causing any problems.
If that's correct, then "approximately" would be incorrect, and
potentially dangerously so. If the hole must be 25 mm, then the hole
cannot be 24 or 26 mm, since that would be a 1-mm tolerance.
WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!. http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l