Fundamentals of Technical Writing

Fundamentals of Technical Writing

If you have a knack for explaining complex subjects in a way that makes them easy to understand, you should consider entering the well-paying field of technical writing. This course will teach you the fundamental techniques that all successful technical writers use.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Instructor
  • Reviews



Do you have a knack for explaining complex subjects in a way that makes them easy to understand? If so, you should consider entering the well-paying field of technical writing. This course will teach you the fundamental techniques that all successful technical writers use. You will learn how to translate complex information into easily understood language, and how to become a wizard at marrying the art of publishing with the science of technology.

You will also learn the secrets of successful technical writers, including technical writing conventions, interviewing skills, desktop publishing and formatting techniques, key tips for developing graphics and templates, documentation management, and how to publish documents both on paper and electronically.


Technical writing is a relatively new profession, but people have been writing technical documents for centuries. In the first lesson, you will learn the fascinating history of technical writing and how technical writing employs both the logical and creative sides of your brain.

Technical writing requires preparation. In this lesson, you will learn the basics of project management for your documentation project and key questions to help you analyze your reading audience, and how to organize this information.

In this lesson, you will learn powerful communication skills that will help you get the information you need. You will also learn how to ask questions that help you get the answers you need more efficiently, and how to apply principles of adult learning when you're analyzing the information you've gathered.

Do you ever get writer's block? Most writers do. In this lesson, you will learn how to shut off your internal editor and give yourself permission to write your first draft more quickly and easily. You will discover tips that can help you keep writing even when you don't have all of the information you need.

Every profession has rules and conventions that separate the novices from the pros. In this lesson, you will learn all about time-honored technical writing conventions, such as using parallel structure, an inverted pyramid style of writing, effective headings, and lists.

Should you save your graphics as BMPs, GIFs, or JPGs? This lesson goes over the difference between the most popular graphics file formats and guidelines for using each. You will also learn about a new file format called PNG and how to create and manipulate screenshots on your PC.

Formatting your document can be critical to its success. In this lesson, you will learn how to choose the typeface or typefaces you want to use and principles for using type effectively in your document. You will learn about the things you need to keep in mind when laying out your pages.

Microsoft Word has nearly a 93% market share for PC-based word processing. Chances are high that you will use it at some time in your technical writing career. In this lesson, you will learn how Microsoft Word is different from other word-processing applications and how to use, modify, and create in Word.

When companies use Microsoft Word for their documentation, they expect you to know how to use and create Word templates. In this lesson, you will learn how to build templates and other Word skills such as recording macros, customizing your toolbar, and more.

Did you know that indexes are the most widely read section in any technical document? In this lesson, you will review indexing conventions and ways to build a great index for your document. You will also learn how to use Microsoft Word to make indexing a bit easier.

To polish your document and make it the best it can be, you need to proofread it and edit it. In this lesson, you will learn tips from professional proofreaders and editors, as well as ways you can use Microsoft Word to help you check your spelling and grammar.

Publishing your document is an exciting time. All of your hard work is almost done—or is it? Your final lesson explores different printing options and trends in publishing. You will also learn the ways you can use your technical writing skills and a four-step plan for getting your first job.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge is also compatible.
  • Any type of word processor can be used in the initial manuscript setup, however Word for Windows is used as the example (not included in enrollment).
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Lynn Atkinson

Lynn Atkinson earned a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) in 1993 and an M.A. in English with an emphasis in rhetoric in 1996. A published writer and editor, including contributions to college textbooks, she considers her greatest accomplishment educating thousands of students at UTA, DeVry, Tarrant County College, Southeast Career Institute, and Everest College. She has also been nominated for and awarded "Outstanding Teacher" at several of these institutions. Lynn has developed or co-developed several writing curriculums, won writing contests, and conducted over 10,000 hours of tutoring.


Great course! I learned so much. I wasn't sure whether to pursue technical writing, but now I'm equipped with the knowledge to make an educated opinion. I have already recommended this course to several people. I was very impressed with the instructor's technique and information.

What a valuable course! Janet boiled down the professional basics of technical writing so clearly. I have enough refreshed and new skills (including confidence) to do my own professional grade tech writing practice project, and then look for a technical writing job or contract. The course's supplementary information is great too, and will keep me busy. Thanks so much, Janet.

I've really enjoyed this course. The structure is perfect, and Janet is a beautiful writer. She is a real role model for what a technical writer and course developer should be and the results they should deliver. I have a long way to go, and I'm looking forward to taking more courses in this series - hopefully with Janet as instructor.

I loved taking this class. The information provided was up-to-date, useful, and easy to understand. The instructor was always available and I knew if I had any questions or concerns she would be there to answer them. I will highly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in pursuing technical writing.

Ms. Underwood is a gifted instructor as well as consummate professional. The instruction was better than any graduate course in my area. Not only were the assignments relevant, they were challenging enough that I couldn't wait to read her comments and other students. She personalized her comments in a very helpful way, sometimes giving very protracted answers!

I really enjoyed this course. It did exactly what I wanted by refreshing me on something I was taught in school along with the opportunity to learn the small details maybe they didn't cover in school and ideally what's current right now. I really enjoyed the class, the instructors style...You can tell the passion and experience in every lesson.

This course was great. I now know without a doubt that I like technical writing, and I feel like I have a good idea of how to start a career in it. Far more useful than any quiz or exam are the assignments. Going through the steps of creating a technical document was invaluable, and I now have work that I can be proud of and use in the future.

Janet was AMAZING!!! She is was a great instructor, writer, and was patient, responsive and made the reading interesting fun and very easy to understand. I can't say enough great things about her style of teaching and the way she conducted this online course. I would recommend it to anyone that is starting a technical career!

As a technical writer, I enjoyed this course very much. Having been out of the technical writer arena full-time for almost 10 years, there were a lot of things that I needed to review and in some instances, to learn due to the advancement of technology. Lucky me, I was taking this course while I landed a contract to edit and proofread a system manual. Needless to say this course came in handy. Professor Underwood's lectures were clear, concise and very easy to follow and understand. She was always ready to help any of her students beyond the call of duty which makes her a great teacher. I was one of those students. I would definitely referred anybody who is interested in learning more about technical writing to take her class. She is awesome!

Wow! This course is amazing! The instructor and the material is the best I've ever seen. I felt that Janet was there through every step of the course. She's very articulate, compassionate, and supportive throughout the entire course. Honestly, I was intimidated at first. But after the first lesson that went away. The discussion is was my comfort blanket. All the people in there, with the questions and answer from the instructor, made it feel like a small community with a common goal. Never once did I feel like I was judge poorly. Bottom line. I would definitely recommend this course to all who are interested in the fundamentals of tech writing. It will open your mind to things that you've never thought you know about the tech writing word. The instructor inspired me to continue to learn mo

Self-Guided Course Code: T9273
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: tec