Re: The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications

Subject: Re: The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 14:19:28 +0600

On 18 Sep 96, Eric Haddock wrote:

> Is this manual intended for general technical writing or for
> writing
> technical material about Microsoft applications?
> I guess I'm asking whether the tone of the manual is "do this to
> be
> consistent with Microsoft" or "do this because it's the right way to
> do it" like other style guides (Chicago, Gregg, etc.) do.

> -- Eric (^_^)

I think it was originally for Microsoft internal use (could have
been a wild, rampant rumor ;-) ....). The problem with the other
manuals, such as those you mentioned, is that they don't have a lot
of technical info for computer manuals. For example, the Chicago
Manual of Style has very little on bulleted lists, instruction
lists, and probably nothing on what to call those "little tabbie
things" or other interface info. I guess if you aren't writing
computer software manuals, the other style guides are fine.
Personally, I like having the Microsoft Manual of Style for one
reason: standardization. Looking at computer magazines is a lesson
in frustration. I've seen terms used differently and spelled
differently on articles within the same issue! They ask questions
just like we do.

Now, that said, I'm not especially keen on letting Microsoft set the
standard, but if it's all we've got, I'll take it. It seems to me
that we've been so busy trying to learn how to USE the technology
that no one has had time to WRITE about how to tell others how to
use it. I really regret the lack of professional publishing (theory,
standards, methods, etc.) within this profession. Even in grad
school in the 90s, all our articles were from the 80s or before.

Ahhhhhh.....this is another thread. Just go buy the Microsoft book
for now, I guess.

Jane Bergen
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com
AnswerSoft, Inc.

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