© Ugur Akinci
MS Office applications can and do store metadata in files created by such applications as MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The metadata is sometimes useful if you’d like to record the author’s name, the date of creation, etc. with the file.
But in other times, especially when you are creating legal documents, the metadata can create embarrassing and even disastrous results if, for example, your document is delivered with the comments and previous edits made to the document. Such information may look invisible when the document is delivered but can be discovered easily if it is not deleted and cleaned up before delivery.
Thus in general it’s a good idea to scrub your files from all metadata unless you have a specific and clear reason to include them.
With single files it’s easy to do that.
But what if you have 100 Word files? Or 500 Excel workbooks? Cleaning up all those files one by one manually would be a formidable task.
Here are three applications that can solve your problem and clean up your files in a wholesale fashion:
Check them out and see which one you like the best.
© Ugur Akinci
Here is an interesting software that could make your life easier as a technical writer, especially if your documents contain a large number of acronyms.
Acronyms Master automatically scans your document, finds the acronyms, and lists them as a neat table. Sounds good, correct?
The company’s website explains the problem as follows:
“Maintaining acronym is usually a laborious, time-consuming and error- prone process, and is often neglected due to time-constraints. Some documents do not even contain a list of acronyms. Others contain acronyms lists that have not been updated since the first version of the document was released.”
Here is an example of the kind of table Acronyms Master generates after going through a technical document generated in MS Word:
Check it out and see if it’s for you.
© Ugur Akinci
Just because technical writers are masters of procedural writing some people assume we have no idea what creative writing is all about. Nothing can be further than the truth. I for example, besides creating hundreds of technical documents and user guides within the last 16 years, have also written screenplays and poems for my own pleasure. I did write a number of movie-related books since I love the moving images, including probably the most-comprehensive guide ever to the films of Cary Grant. That kind of writing keeps me balanced by massaging the parts of my brain that is left dormant during long days of procedural.
Sr. Technical Writer and Poet Amogha Rejeesh
Here are the stories of several technical writers from India whose creativity did not stop with technical documents and garnered awards and praises in poetry and short fiction.
Leslie Noles of the Robert L. Wright Jr. Health Sciences Center at Columbus Technical College in Columbus, Ohio, took a different path to creativity. Even though she was not trained as a technical writer, Noles, the director for the college’s medical assisting, wrote a book on medical assistant field. The 300-page book with 23 chapters and titled “Clinical Skills For Patient-Centered Care” will be released in 2015.
And if you’re interested in general information about technical writing as a profession, here is a nice summary page for you from Las Vegas Review-Journal. Checkout the outlook section of this brief report: “Demand for technical writers is expected to grow by 17 percent through 2020, slightly faster than the average for all occupations. Nationwide, employment will grow by 8,500 to 58,100.” Cool isn’t it?