Corporate Templates: a Must for Technical Writers

Companies that develop technical documentation must define its own specific templates for different types of documents. Corporate Templates are a preset format for a document which allows you to create a new instance or a copy of itself without the need to create a document from a blank page.

Interested in technical writing best practices? Read this blog post in order to successfully link the art of writing with the science of technology.

Most templates may usually store the following elements:

Boilerplate text

It is a standard piece of writing that can be easily inserted into documents with few or no changes, and that is mainly used for legal or copyright statements, trademarks, or warranty clauses. As not adding the correct boilerplate texts can cause serious legal problems for a company, as a technical writer, you should ensure that the information is updated, preapproved and appropriate for the service or product that you are writing for.

Images or graphics

You can add a company logo or other graphic that should be part of each document.

Formatting

It contains font, paragraph and page settings such as:

·         fonts and sizes for each heading and line of body text

·         line spacing and indentation

·         page size, orientation, sections, margins, page-numbering scheme, headers and footers

Content Controls

In more advanced templates, you can include certain types of content controls to help you and other users manage information. For example, you can add a drop-down list control to a template, define the items in that list, and then select the items you need as you build a document.

Macros

They are a set of keystrokes and instructions recorded and saved as a key combination or file name. They help you to save time on repetitive tasks.

Document References

If appropriate, you can add a placeholder table of contents. If there are several images in your document, you can also indicate whether captions are required or define a default style for captions.

Corporate templates that have been created with most of the elements mentioned before are valuable tools as they bring the following benefits.

First of all, following a corporate template will contribute to achieving brand identification and reinforcement. As in any kind of relationship, if, for example, you would like to leave a very good and positive first impression on prospective customers, all marketing documentation should have the same look and feel ensuring visual effectiveness and reflecting the company’s core values and services.

Another benefit is that templates help you be more productive. It would be a waste of time and effort to reconstruct the formatting when you create a new document of the same type or for every new project. By reusing a template, writers can concentrate on content instead of worrying about layout.

Using templates are also advantageous to keep the style and visual consistency and prevent possible inaccuracies. For example, a team of technical writers would create documents that look the same regardless of their individual experience and point of view as writers, and they would only need to update information throughout the document.

Finally, across several documents created using the same template, it allows users to understand and find information easily. If the information is inconsistently presented, it can be confusing and distracting to readers.

Developing corporate templates takes time and effort but it is certainly worth the effort as the way you format your document is a reflection of the company you work for. At Intraway, the technical documentation team and the marketing department have worked together to achieve high-quality template designs for our official documentation.

More content? Read this summary of tools and techniques to produce well-organized technical information easy to find which is an essential skill for technical writers.

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