Common Mistakes that can be Avoided Using Compare File Tools
Date: May, 2022 | Category: Proofreading | Author: Hana Trokic
Web pages, reports, datasheets, product descriptions, case studies, and white papers. What do all of these have in common? They are all examples of technical writing and can greatly benefit from a file comparison tool.
A highly specialized form of writing, technical writing is used in a large array of professional fields from software, finance, medicine, and consumer goods. Wherever a clear set of instructions is needed, that’s where you’ll find examples of technical writing.
Formal and professional, technical documents are no place to let your creativity shine. Instead, technical writing focuses on conveying information in the clearest and most effective manner possible. Because of its nature and audience, technical writing should also be highly accurate and free from all errors.
Since mistakes in technical documents could potentially lead to disastrous consequences, priority should be put on creating error-free content. A tool that can significantly help achieve this task is a file comparison tool – the answer to all of your proofreading problems.
Simplicity is often the most complicated thing to achieve, so taking a few shortcuts to help us get there should be fully embraced. To get perfectly written technical documents every time, we first need to learn how to avoid common mistakes.
The secret? We get by with a little help from our software friends.
Check Content Using File Comparison Software
The most common mistakes in written documents are spelling errors or typos. They are mistakes that we are most likely to notice in text and are also mistakes that drastically decrease the quality, reliability, and credibility of a document, especially regarding technical documentation.
Most writing and publishing tools have built-in spell checks that automatically detect errors during the creation stage of content. Several platforms such as Grammarly take spell checks to the next level. Not only does it find spelling mistakes, but it also assesses the word flow and overall readability of a written document.
These technological add-ons are handy in the creation stages of copy, but what about the later revision stages? The stages after a piece of content has been created, finalized, and even printed?
More In-Depth Inspections
Errors such as formatting issues, text breaks, missing letters and words, are common occurrences that can appear due to printer failures and glitches.
With file comparison software, you can streamline your entire quality control workflow and ensure flawless content throughout all stages of production.
After a document has been created and printed, the software enables a complete scan and inspection of documents to find all errors in the file. From pesky spelling errors to any text errors such as punctuation, font, and word deviations, the file comparison software will detect and pinpoint their exact locations to allow for adequate adjustments in record time.
Catch Almost Undetectable Errors
We hate to uncover new fears for technical writers everywhere, but did you know that there may be errors in your content that you aren’t even aware of?
Even after meticulous manual proofreading, many errors could slip through due to the many downsides of manual verifications. Even if you’ve made sure that all of your spelling and punctuation is perfect, there are other aspects of content, such as graphics, color, and formatting, that the eye simply cannot catch during a manual document inspection.
How Does File Comparison Software Work?
While more obvious differences may be easy to catch, minor differences need help from technology to be caught.
In essence, file comparison software overlays two files to find the discrepancies between them. Comparing the master copy to a sample, it finds all differences between the two no matter how small.
Differences and errors that would otherwise go unnoticed, a file comparison tool catches at rates of 1000 characters per second – infinitely faster than any manual inspection and more accurate to boot.
Content that is Consistently Consistent
Frequently, punctuation is put on the back burner. However, punctuation should never be overlooked in technical writing, and its correct use should be emphasized.
One of the most common punctuation mistakes is inconsistency, and often, a document can have many different variations of a single punctuation if not proofread properly. This includes curly and straight apostrophes, spaces before or after commas, parentheses, quotations, or periods.
Punctuation can sometimes be a stylistic choice and allows you the freedom to choose as you please, but more often than not, there are rules that apply to their correct usage. Whatever it may be, be sure that your punctuation is consistent throughout your entire document to avoid sounding unprofessional, unreliable, and careless.
File Comparison Tool for Consistency
Technical writing is highly specialized and should aim to be well thought out and proficient. Minor and hasty errors such as inconsistency in punctuation can ruin an otherwise great piece of content, so make sure you aren’t ignoring the finer details.
A file comparison tool will catch all discrepancies in your punctuation with ease and accuracy and will complete this task within mere seconds. You might have to know the grammar rules by heart, but the proofing will be a breeze.
The software will run a holistic and comprehensive scan of any given document. This includes files from raw text data, regulatory submissions, artwork revisions, and vendor proofs. Virtually all file types are supported, including Word, PDF, Excel, AI, PPTX, and more.
The scan will then generate a report where all errors, deviations, and differences will be pinpointed to allow you to make the appropriate adjustments and corrections with complete ease.
Let’s Get Technical
A top priority in technical writing is that documents be as clear and concise as possible. No metaphors or abstract ideas, technically written documents should be straightforward and easy to read.
This is to avoid the possibility of confusion by readers as technical documents serve to present coherent instructions, details, or information.
What Not to Do
There are rules to technical writing that should be followed, and as such, there are some things that should be avoided at all costs. The next time you are writing a technical document, make sure you avoid:
- Illogical Structure – before you begin writing, make sure you plan out the flow and order of your document.
- Informal language – remember, this isn’t the time to let your creative side shine. Technical documents should be professional, formal, and contain little to no slang terms but may vary slightly according to audiences.
- Inconsistency – make sure you communicate one concept and not give contradictory or opposing ideas.
- Bad punctuation – improper punctuation can make your written documents seem less reliable and sloppy. Make sure to check your punctuation and use your commas wisely.
- Over complications – sometimes technical writing can get too technical. Overcomplicating your content to sound knowledgeable can often have the opposite effect and become too complex for readers to understand.
While a file comparison tool can’t write content for you, it can greatly help throughout the content creation process and ensure that all of your “I’s” are dotted and “T’s” are crossed.
What to Do
Now that we know what to avoid, we can look at what to absolutely do when writing technically. The best advice is to simply keep it simple.
We laugh at the shampoo bottle’s “lather, rinse, repeat,” but in reality, this internationally known set of instructions is a perfect example of a technical writing masterpiece. Short, concise, and to the point, everyone can follow these steps and use the product without hesitation or consequence. The result is squeaky clean hair every time.
Let this simple three-word phrase guide all of your technical writing endeavors and serve as a reminder to always keep it clear and easy.
A Comprehensive Solution
Since technical writing doesn’t leave much room for artistic expression, it’s best to play by the rules to ensure your technical content is concise and error-free.
Writers already heavily rely on different software and platforms to ensure the integrity of their work. In doing so, they would greatly benefit from the addition of a file comparison tool. Mistakes in technical writing are far less forgiving, and this technology helps create flawless content in a fraction of the time. No need to spend hours manually proofing your work; let file comparison software do it for you!
We all need a little help sometimes, so do yourself a favor and start reaping the benefits of file comparison technology today.
To learn more about our file comparison tool, request a demo of GlobalVision here.