Technical documentation should never be dull or boring – not to the reader nor the writer. As for the latter, if you’ve ever created a technical documentation template, you probably know how looong it takes and how boooring it can be. Speaking frankly, earlier, I had to plan my work time in a way that my most productive hours were spent on technical documentation. Otherwise, no matter how hard I tried, it made me sleepy all the time – no kidding. Switching between different software, endless copypasting, and repetitive clicking on the same keyword combinations made my brain turn off. Now, I use a superb tool allowing me to create a technical document 10 times faster and I spend much less time on this task, thus I have more time for much more important needs.
If you are a programmer, software engineer, technical writer, business consultant, or are managing a start-up, then you will be familiar with why a technical document and software documentation template are important business tools to your organization. To make a software documentation template engaging, make sure it corresponds to the following three qualities: concise, content and clarity. Read on to discover how you can create a technical documentation template efficiently and why reliable documentation is important to guide your work and business on the path of success.
Seamless sharing of knowledge
Documentation enables seamless and swift sharing of knowledge across all levels of organizations. When transparency is present, employees can provide a standardized level of customer experience for different problems, troubleshoot effectively and efficiently, resulting in speedier resolution of problems. Ease of knowledge dissemination creates a workforce that is less prone to errors, therefore bringing us to our next point.
Minimizing errors and faster resolution of problems
Did you know that the average error rate among common work practices ranges from 10% to 30% for every hundred opportunities? We acknowledge that new hires are more prone to human errors. However, existing hires are not fault-free as they are likely to make mistakes due to complacency at work.
By establishing an exhaustive and informative process documentation template, employees no longer need to second guess or rely on their memory to resolve problems. Creating a standardized technical documentation template, systems and methods are needed to reduce failure rates and poor performance. With the software documentation template in place, software engineers can look back at the functional specification document (FSD) to understand the logic built into the program in the initial stages to remove system bugs that may have occurred during the implementation process. People join and leave organizations at breakneck speed today, and having a technical documentation template in place serves as a useful reference point for new hires if proper handover was not possible due to time restrictions.
To summarize, having a technical or process documentation template in place creates reliance on sheer memory and reduces errors. These documents are essential for handover of information and transitional periods particularly prevalent during organizational restructuring.
Documentation demonstrates your organization’s professionalism
Have your new hires ever complained about facing difficulty when doing a simple, operational task such as launching shared integration software? Have they also complained about the absence of a one-stop guide on how to maneuver through the employee portal? With a robust technical documentation template in place, such grievances will be a thing of the past. When technical documentation templates and frequently asked questions (FAQs) are uploaded and stored in a shared portal, employees can word-search relevant information as reference. Less time will be spent walking through the process and hand-holding the new hire, thus increasing workforce productivity. In addition, employees will view your company in a positive light of professionalism with documentation in place. Above it all, thorough process documentation ensures that the department is always audit-ready, as retrieving documents can be done in a click of a mouse.
How to create a technical documentation template in a breeze
Now that you know the importance of documentation, here are 4 steps on how to create a technical documentation template in minutes and save tonnes of time and money.
Step 1: Plan
Define the objective and target audience of your technical document before you begin. This will keep you on track towards your end-goal, avoid re-writing a document that may have steered off its original goal and reduce actual writing time. Be sure to identify goals, resources, deadlines, project cost, and final deliverables right from the start.
Step 2: Write
Now that you have gathered all relevant information, it’s time to put your outline into words. Ensure that the technical documentation template is clear, concise and clarifies commonly asked questions. Do a self-review to ensure that you have not missed a step in the process documentation. Above all, ensure that what you have written can be understood by employees at all levels, including the junior hires.
Step 3: Review
At this point, check and correct spelling and grammatical errors. In addition, ensure that all steps in a process are documented and nothing is left out. Double check the document’s accuracy by running through it with a colleague and obtain a fresh perspective. If you are writing a software program, ensure the accuracy of the codes captured to prevent future mistakes from occurring.
With StepShot Guides, gone are the days when you had to toggle between Paint or Snipping software to capture screens, and then annotate them with separate text boxes or word processors to create a technical document. StepShot Guides captures processes without interruption by automating AI-technology seamlessly. In minutes, you will be able to dish up a nicely-styled how-to-guide, freeing you essential time for more ROI-driven work.
Download a technical document template below to see how it looks if it’s created in PDF format with StepShot Guides.DOWNLOAD a PDF Template
Step 4: Publish
Now that the technical document is completed, it is time to share it with the target audience and push live. With StepShot’s pre-built process documentation template in various formats, saving guides in PDF, Word, HTML, WordPress or PowerPoint are just a few clicks away. In fact, by using Step Shot, the process document can be also converted into image or video format as well – the video below was created with this software. Similarly, it makes it easy to share your technical document with others – on StepShot Cloud, Confluence, ServiceNow, and SharePoint.
For more information on how to create a process documentation template, click on this link.
Useful tools to create a software documentation template
Ever wondered what the best tools are to create a software documentation template? Read on further as we tested an array of tools to unearth the top 3 useful tools to create a technical documentation template.
1st Place – StepShot Guides
StepShot Guides is an award-winning process documentation tool that captures screenshots, annotates, customizes your guide and allows you to export it into various output formats for instant publishing. Simply put, StepShot Guides allows you to create a guide, manual, or process documentation template as you click on what you want to document. This tool automatically generates step by step descriptions for you, along with a screenshot for each step.
StepShot Guides is designed to help users make impressive and comprehensive step-by-step guides, training manuals and instructional materials in a jiffy, cutting down the time required for documentation creation by 90%. With that time saved, you can now re-focus your expertise on other matters that contribute to business profitability.
We like that fact the StepShot Guides syncs with many other popular applications, allowing you to work wherever you want. It integrates coherently with Atlassian Confluence, WordPress, ServiceNow, and SharePoint. In addition, StepShot Guides allows easy conversion into several different output formats including Word, PDF, Video, HTML, WordPress, PowerPoint, and Images. The users can customize outputs according to their brand guidelines by using intuitive technical documentation template with no coding skills required.
Built with integrated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, this software automatically converts different types of documents captured by this technology into editable data. Now, you can access and edit the original contents in minutes, saving you the hassle of retyping the paragraph. This technology also allows you to spot errors in any image, and insert the relevant text where it should be instantly. Packaged with all these features, it’s no wonder StepShot was awarded the Great User Experience and Rising Star Award by Finances Online in 2018.
In October, StepShot Guide Pro version was launched, and the developers have built in a bunch of new features extremely helpful in creating a process documentation template. Now, the upgraded StepShot Guide Pro version has been complemented with the highly awaited StepShot Cloud which allows the sharing and embedding of your documents wherever you need. Soon, its users will be able to create whole help center sites with their own domain name with StepShot Cloud.
Automated capturing process
Step description generation
Time saving – what took 4 hours before is shortened to 25-30 minutes
Easy yet professional editing toolkit
OCR technology saving time from manual retyping
Conversion into different output formats
Excellent customer support
Recognized, award-winning process documentation tool
Adequate pricing policy
You need to save all your guides in ssg format before exporting if you’d like to edit them later
The delayed launch of Step Shot Guides Pro – a couple of months later than expected
Lack of text fonts
2nd place – Microsoft Office Word
According to Noel Aspect, with Microsoft products mentioned in 35.4% of job listings, it is clear that Microsoft Office is the dominant software program. Microsoft Office Word is traditionally used for creating text or word documents, making it one of the earliest tools used for a software documentation template. It allows the user to type text and add more comments via additional text boxes, paste, edit and format visuals (only a few options, for something more advanced – use an external image editor). Still, you need to keep jumping between different tools to create a technical document, not to mention to export or share it. In a nutshell, having to toggle between different apps and screens is one of the major downsides of Microsoft Office Word when it comes to documentation. Furthermore, different apps and plugins must be downloaded in order to view Word documents on mobile devices.
For its plus points, this software manages templates and allows you to save a doc as a PDF file, Open XML, XPS, RTF, OpenDocument, or a web page. Word files can be shared with other users only via email, blog, or online presentation.
Comes with numerous text formatting options
You are probably already aware of its interface and features
Intuitive in use even for new users
Requires multiple apps to be used in parallel for creating a technical document
Different apps also required to share and collaborate on the doc
To view Word documents on mobile devices, the right apps and plugins are required
In terms of technical documentation, some find it clunky and cumbersome
3rd place – Microsoft Office Visio
Developed in 1992 and acquired by Microsoft in 2000, Visio offers a wide range of templates in categories like business, engineering, flowchart, maps, and floor plans. Its diagramming capabilities cover almost any business need you can think of, and the interface is quite intuitive. Visio allows the creation of professional documents without engaging a draughtsman or CAD personnel, thus saving on cost.
On the flip side, while Microsoft Office suite has progressed and moved online, Visio has not. Visio does not work on Mac or Linus, making its operating capabilities limited to Microsoft only. Furthermore, Microsoft Office Visio is also more expensive, unlike other similar tools.
Extensive diagramming capabilities
Doesn’t require other tools to create and edit a document
Integrates only with Microsoft Office
Does not work on Mac and Linux