Technical writing is tough. Add to that the pressure of structuring and designing the technical documentation in a way that end-users can easily understand.
No wonder the demand for technical writing tools is on a constant rise!
While the market is replete with tools that promise the best-in-breed features and exemplary performance, making the right pick is never easy.
And that’s why we are here! We have done all the heavy lifting of finding the best tools so that you don’t have to.
This blog provides a carefully-curated list of the top technical writing tools that can make your life a tad bit easier. Before we dive into the details, let’s first get our basics right.
All set to explore?
What Is Technical Writing Software?
Technical writing software is a tool that allows you to write, edit, and publish technical documentation across multiple platforms. This software comes with a rich authoring system that helps you write technical content and customize it using CSS and white-labeling.
You can also set workflow reviews and approvals to ensure everything you write goes through a strict review process before the final publication.
Why Does Your Business Need Technical Writing Software?
Some products and services give a hard time to customers and hamper the overall experience. This often results in customer dissatisfaction and poor brand image.
That’s where technical document writing tools come into the picture.
Such tools come with a rich authoring system that saves you considerable time writing technical content. In fact, authors can use a pre-designed template and work collaboratively on technical documentation from a centralized location.
With a dedicated technical document, you can achieve quite a few benefits, such as:
- Reduced support tickets on common technical issues
- Increased ticket resolution time
- Efficient support agents who can solve customer problems in minutes
And, above all, a happier customer base!
Key Features of Technical Writing Software
There is plenty of software for technical writers available out there, which can be both overwhelming and confusing.
So, how do you cut the noise and gain some clarity over which tool to pick?
It’s simple. If you know the features to look out for, you can easily get your hands on the right software.
Let’s look at some of the top features that technical writing tools must have:
1. Pre-Designed Templates
The document creation process gets a whole lot easier with expert-designed documentation templates. These ready-made templates come with a pre-built framework, so you don’t have to start anything from the ground up.
2. Online Text Editor
All technical writing software tools should provide an online text editor that works as seamlessly as MS Word and has all the required features for customization.
3. User Access Roles & Permissions
The best tools for technical writers come with a user management system that allows you to add or edit users and allot them specific roles and permissions.
4. Built-in Reports
Most tools used for technical writing offer built-in reports to help you uncover useful insights into how your technical content is performing and whether it is serving the purpose.
5. Single Sourcing
This is a crucial feature that allows you to source a piece of content and use it across articles. Technical writers can update multiple articles at once with single sourcing.
6. Contextual Help
Modern technical writing tools offer tooltips, lightboxes, and popups, that help you deliver contextual help at specific spots in your technical documentation.
10 Best Technical Writing Tools You Can Consider in 2023
Let’s look at the 10 leading technical writing tools that can help you build top-notch technical documentation for your end users.
ProProfs Knowledge Base is a simple tool that helps you build top-notch technical documentation with absolute ease. The tool is beginner-friendly, so you can get started right away without any specialized training or coding skills. With a range of beautiful templates and a rich authoring system, creating technical content is a breeze. Technical writers can work collaboratively on documents, get each article reviewed by editors, and publish in a single click.
- Author content seamlessly using an MS Word-like editor
- Explain technical terms and concepts using tooltips, lightboxes, and popups
- Track article history and roll back to a previous version if necessary
- Brand your documentation using appropriate fonts, colors, and themes
- Generate insightful reports on how your content is being used
Notepad++ is an open-source text editing tool that lets you create technical documents in multiple languages. Powered by Scintilla – a robust editing component and written in C++, this technical writing tool uses minimum CPU power to function, which makes it quite energy-efficient.
Read More: How to create Technical Documentation
- Save time by auto-completing common expressions
- Find text and replace it across the entire article in a click
- Allows multiple users to work on the same document
- Easy to use across multiple operating systems and devices
Help+Manual is a powerful tool that simplifies the process of building technical documentation and manuals. Powered with stellar features, Help+Manual allows you to manage content translations and maintain different document versions. Whether it’s HTML files, Word docs, or Adobe RoboHelp, you can import files directly to Help+Manual and expedite the content-building process.
- Allow multiple users to work together on your technical documentation
- Manage multiple versions of your articles
- Quickly import content from HTML, Winhelp, and other formats
- Add conditional tags to publish content in different formats
Document360 is a popular tool that has all the bells and whistles you need for seamless technical writing. Designed for growing companies, this software houses advanced features for localizing your documentation, maintaining article versions, and performing bulk actions. Document360 is one of the top technical writing tools that works beautifully with third-party software like Google, Slack, and Intercom.
- Collaborate with authors to build, review, and publish technical content
- Configure SEO settings to boost online visibility
- Manage workflows for your documentation by setting due dates and roles
- Create content enriched with media using the WYSIWYG editor
- Use custom CSS to give your documentation the desired look and feel
KnowledgeOwl is another technical writing software that deserves your time and attention. It comes with a full-featured editor that lets you build documentation with custom branding and advanced search. You can rearrange categories through simple drag and drop and even bulk edit articles to save time. The tool also allows you to capture feedback on articles and improve your knowledge base performance.
- Let visitors comment on knowledge base articles
- Configure knowledge base design to suit your branding
- Manage users and control their access levels and permissions
- Maintain a file library for instant article updates
- Add contact forms to your documentation to collect customer feedback
HelpnDoc is a modern technical writing tool that helps you build help files, user manuals, and documentation across multiple formats such as PDF, Word, HTML, and many others. A clean and simple user interface, a super fast editor, and an advanced table of contents are some of the major elements that distinguish HelpnDoc from its competitors. Using this tool, you can produce technical documentation that’s compatible with multiple devices and screen sizes.
- Author content quickly with a full-featured topic editor
- Access a library of media items and use them instantly across articles
- Publish documentation across formats from a single source
- Import and export Markdown documents
- Create error-free documentation with a built-in live spell checker
Paligo is another tool for technical writers gaining popularity in the business world. It offers a holistic CCMS solution for all your technical documentation and knowledge management needs. From authoring to publishing content, Paligo helps you do it all from one single collaborative space. Highly secure, reliable, and scalable, this tool makes content creation effortless through topic-based authoring and content reuse.
- Write content once and repurpose it to any output format
- Organize and categorize content smartly with the component content management system
- Keep your content consistent and up to date with structured authoring
- Use topic-based authoring to create and release your documentation in minutes
- Personalize your documentation for different audiences
ClickHelp offers an all-in-one solution for technical writing. You can write technical guides for both internal and external audiences and customize their experience using visual settings. You also get CSS and a variety of templates to design your documentation just the way you like. Furthermore, ClickHelp aids you in maintaining document quality through its in-depth analytics and reporting.
- Get access to the unlimited version history of articles
- Get email notifications for comments and workflow events
- Easily migrate content from MS Word, Confluence, RoboHelp, etc.
- Track over 30 content metrics to analyze documentation performance
- Publish your documentation across formats such as PDF and Web Help
Plan.io is packed with knowledge management, help desk, project and task management tools that can help your organization in a variety of ways. Technical writers can use this tool to create content collaboratively in a centralized location. Plan.io has robust formatting capabilities and a customizable parent-child content structure. You also get full control over the roles and permissions of users to ensure all activities are carried out under your supervision.
- Create a table of contents for easy navigation
- Control access by defining user roles and permissions
- Keep track of article changes and compare their histories
- Customize the document’s structure using parent-child and sub-page options
- Sync files and folders with your devices
Doccept is one of the best technical writing software that is well-equipped with all the right features needed to take the chaos out of your workplace. It is a multi-user Document Management System (DMS) that allows you to organize and share technical content across your business. Doccept is pretty easy to use and comes with a short learning curve, so technical authors can get acquainted with its functionalities quickly.
- Track article versions to ensure critical data is never lost
- Notify people about article reviews through comments
- Drag and drop files into Doccept for instant content creation
- Create shortcut links to eliminate duplicates and access information quickly
- Track the audit trail of documents to keep an eye on who made the changes and when
Tools to Boost Your Technical Writing Experience
The tools listed above help you in all facets of technical writing – content creation, editing, customizing, publishing, and many more. But is that all?
Technical writing is also about nitty-gritty like proofreading the content, adding screenshots, and editing images and videos.
Here’s a list of other essential tools to improve your technical writing experience:
Screen Capture Tools
✅ Snipping Tool
Developed by Microsoft, Snipping Tool provides an easy way to take a snapshot of a part of your screen or your entire screen. You can make changes to the screenshot, save and directly upload it to the document you are creating.
✅ Awesome Screenshot
This is an amazing tool that makes it possible to capture all or a specific part of your screen, record the screen, add annotations, edit the capture, and share it instantly.
Image Editing Tools
One of the most popular photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop, is perfect for giving clarity, color, tone, and perfection to your pictures. Fix the aesthetics of your images and then directly upload them to your technical document.
✅ Adobe Illustrator
This is one of the best vector graphics tools that is widely used for creating mobile and web graphics, logos, icons, billboards, packaging, and more. Adobe Illustrator can take the design of your documentation several notches higher.
Spell Check Tools
Grammarly uses AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to give suggestions for grammatical errors, issues related to paragraph and sentence structure, vocabulary, writing style, and much more. You can also run a plagiarism check on Grammarly to identify copied content.
Video Editing Tools
✅ Adobe Premiere Pro
Have a video to upload in your document, but it’s not in the right shape? Adobe Premiere Pro can help you out. Polish your videos, edit them from any device, and then share them on any platform you want.
This easy-to-use video editor is another excellent option to trim videos, edit and polish them, adjust colors, brightness, and tone, give 3D effects, and much more. If you have any videos to add to your document, fine-tune them with OpenShot and enhance their appeal to make the right impact.
Get Your Hands on the Right Technical Writing Tool
Technical writing tools can make your life so much easier.
They are well-equipped to handle all the hard work that goes into creating guides, manuals, and documentation for your customers. With such stellar features at your disposal, you can get the content ready and publish it in minutes.
However, picking the right tool that serves your needs can be a challenge. The list of the most used technical writing tools listed above is carefully-curated, keeping in mind the challenges and preferences of technical authors. Compare them by features, pricing, and ease of use, and choose the tool that fits the bill.
You can opt for ProProfs Knowledge Base if simplicity and versatility are on your mind. The tool offers a wholesome experience through its state-of-the-art features. If cost is not a concern, ClickHelp is another tool you can consider.
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