A list of awesome technical documentation tools to help you create informative & interesting technical articles with WordPress.
The key to a successful online technical documentation section depends mostly on two things: The user-friendliness of the interface & the quality of the technical documents.
As simple as it sounds, the technical documents require a lot of diversity in the type of content that is added to them.
Plain text, unformatted or poorly structured text, with a lack of proper multimedia elements, can make your online documents boring, thereby not fulfilling their purpose to serve the customers with relevant solutions.
In this article, we have a list of different types of technical documentation tools, all of which can help you write better.
- Software tools for publishing documentation
- Tools for writing technical documentation
- Image Editing & Annotation tools
- Screen grabbing (images & Gifs)
- Video making & editing
Software/Digital Publishing Technical Documentation Tools
First of all, there should be a platform for you to host the online technical documentation. This will be a portal where all your guides/processes/technical help articles are published.
Thankfully, there are multitudes of technical documentation tools & software out there to help you set up such a system quickly and easily.
Once you start using such technical documentation software, all you require is to create the articles and start making your documentation section more resourceful.
But the following are some of the most popular tools for writing and publishing technical documentation:
MediaWiki – For Online Documents Wiki
If you are looking for a platform to create an online wiki, an information portal, then MediaWiki is your best bet. It is free, open-source, flexible, and customizable technical documentation tools.
It is a highly dynamic collaboration and documentation platform that you can use to create a technical help center. It powers Wikipedia and can be downloaded as a zip file on your local computer to get started easily.
Mediawiki has a style guide to help you with editing and writing technical documentation efficiently using mediawiki. When creating documentation, if simplicity and flexibility are what you are looking for, MediaWiki is just the right platform for you.
This product from Adobe is a professional tool for developing documentation. It is called a Help Authoring Tool (HAT) and is one of the technical documentation tools for better writing.
With the Adobe RoboHelp tool, you can create knowledgebases, internal wiki, company information portals, technical documentation sections, and any such knowledge/document repository.
The Adobe RoboHelp tool is definitely not the easiest to use but is known for great output for the documents. It also provides you with so many options to link, edit, generate and organize content.
It can help you create great e-learning systems by letting you organize your content chapter wise. There are also options to export the documents to user manuals.
Adobe RoboHelp is a professional tool and will let your author documentation with plenty of sophisticated technical documentation tools and options included, but it may be a bit tricky to learn for beginners.
Bit.ai is one of the document collaboration tools for creating a knowledge base, training guides, client portals, documentation, wiki websites, and so on. It is an advanced tool for modern online documentation centers.
Bit.ai is used as a documentation system and workspace collaboration tool by some of the leading companies like Accenture, Rackspace, Canon, etc. The tool can be used to create a system for small organizations, big organizations, as well as individual users to keep a track of a project.
The platform comes with a great editor for writing documentation. It is one of the technical documentation tools with color options, an awesome collaboration module, and interlinking options. The editors can write inline comments for better understanding, generates link preview, and a lot of smart widgets.
You can also attach files and include informative tables. It also supports integration with more than 100 tools like Trello cards, Gumroad, and many similar tools.
The Adobe FrameMaker is great for documentation because it lets you handle your content, frame by frame, thereby helping you create technical documentation with better organization.
It is a multi-featured tool that comes with a bundle of features to help you create professional and in-depth documentation.
Starting from the platform, to host the technical help articles, to authoring tools for documentation, review features, translations, migration (import/export) of the documents, to an entire management system for the technical content of an organization.
It is a premium cloud-based service and is great for your organization if you are planning to create a very sophisticated, high-end technical help center as it has great tools for both – content creation as well as content delivery.
These were some of the best authoring and publishing tools that you can use to create and publish useful documents.
We have a separate article discussing all the best technical documentation software solutions to create a platform to publish and share the technical documentation.
Writing/Authoring technical Documentation tools
Content is the king! And the textual content will always contribute to being the largest part of your technical documentation and there are different technical documentation tools with different purposes.
The one’s mentioned below are some of the tools that you can use to write you documentation. These are the editors/notepads where you can draft your documentation.
A part of the Microsoft suite, this is one of the most well-known as well as popular technical documentation tools for writing content. It has evolved and updated with some features to accommodate modern writing techniques.
It is a local tool for those using Windows operating system. If you wish to create your documentation offline, on your local computer and save it locally, you can use a word document.
It alows you to format your content, add table of contents, change the colors, manage the font size, add links, table, charts, images, and do a lot more.
It is one of the fully evolved and feature packed offline documentation tool which is also really flexible and easy to use.
Notepad++ is a simple but also one of the best technical documentation tools. can be used with windows and has a simple interface but an advanced form of a simple notepad. You can edit source code with Notepad++. It will let you save data in HTML format, and support tabbed editing with several tabs open at once. It supports about 80+ programming languages as well.
There are many beautiful features that make Notepad++ a good fit to write your documentation. First of all, it is an offline tool, a desktop application – best for those who want to draft their documents offline. It comes with various prompts and suggestions for your content.
This is a free tool that you can use to author your software documentation and is simple to use even for beginners.
This is a free tool to create documentation, with awesome collaboration options, and all you need to use it is a Google account.
Google Docs is one of the authoring tools that you can use to create documents online. It autosaves the changes you make to the document in real-time. There are many advanced features, that allow you to see the document structure(outline), a great editing toolbar, and so on.
There is also a feature to view the version history, where you can view the changes and restore any of the previous versions of the document. You can insert graphs and charts, tables, and much more with this technical documentation tool.
The Google docs, Google sheets, etc. are a part of the Google suite and allow collaboration by generating a shareable link. You set the access to viewing, editing, or limited to commenting.
Google Docs provides you with a distraction-free writing experience, just like you are writing on a blank page. There are formatting and editing options. You can even download the completed document as a Word file, or a pdf file, rich text format, etc.
The beauty of Google docs is that it gives you a great way to collaborate with other authors. There are features to comments, create task lists, manage schedules with a calendar, and so on.
Hemmingway app is a sweet and simple tool to create documentation with perfect spelling and with great readability.
It will check the phrases, statements, and copy for difficult statements and unnecessary complications in the document.
It is an online tool and you can write the copy online and then copy it to wherever you want. You can write in the online editor, format the copy as well as make the corrections. It will simply highlight all the possibilities of corrections and make your task easier to create a copy with the best readability.
It also ranks your content based on how complex the statements are and highlight the sections where the amendments can be made.
Using this technical documentation tool along with Grammarly (that follows next) in this list, will help you achieve error-free documents with great readability.
It is essential to mark that the copy you write for the technical documentation is error-free and grammatically correct. Now, it may not be possible to proofread and check the grammatical accuracy of all the content that you produce as a part of technical documentation.
It will help you find and fix simple as well as complex grammatical mistakes, incorrect sentence structure, spellings, punctuations, and much more.
Grammarly will make your task easy by helping you write better documentation and eliminate the chance of grammatical errors. This free tool will suggest the grammatical corrections as and where required and help you create a clean, error-free copy.
It is available as a browser add-on or a desktop tool as well. It is a writing assistant that will help you create effective documentation.
Image Editing & Annotation tools
Can you imagine a technical documentation without images. There can be a number of technical documentation tools for image editing and annotations, to make your articles even more meaningful.
You can annotate the screenshots to explain how stuff works, or to highlight the location/path of an option, or to explain the function of an option, in general.
Below listed are some of the such technical documentation tools for creating custom images to be included in your technical help articles.
Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular image editing tools. It has an advanced set of tools and options to help create high-quality custom graphics. It is a tool that you can use to annotate the images in your documentation, or
Photoshop is not a free tool, but it is worth the price considering all the editing power it puts in your hand. It is also not very easy to use, but a little bit of experience and exploring and trying out the right options will help you make the best of it.
However, it is overall a complex tool. If you are looking for a simple image editor, just to add a few remarks on the images, or to highlight a few things, you can stick to a simpler tool.
Just like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator is also an advanced tool that can help you with documentation. It provides you with the options and tools to create and edit vector graphics.
Since documentation articles are mostly educational, adding a bit of twist to the images in form of vector graphics can add an element of interest in the copy.
More and more people are nowadays relying on infographics and articles that have more imagery in form of colorful posters, symbols, logos, patterns, icons, etc. A tool like Adobe Illustrator will help you build all these elements of interest in your documentation.
It is perhaps the most widely used tool for creating beautiful vector art and illustrations and is a premium tool.
When it comes to comapany wiki or process explaination through documents, charts and diagrams can play an important role.
Microsoft Visio is a tool through which you can effortlessly generate diagrams and work with vector graphics to explain the flow of processes, hierachy, with the help of object and shapes.
It can be one of the most important tools to systematically describe the flow of process, or for various other type of information in the technical documentation. It can help you with simplest diagrams, or the most complex ones. For example – you can create a flow chart to show how a product’s manufacturing process going from one process to another.
This is a list of tools that will help you capture the screen of computer, or mobile phone, or any system, to help you record the process and describe it in the documentation.
Screen capture tools are perhaps the most commonly and largely used technical documentation tools.
Screen To Gif
This is a tool provides you with a great way to quickly draw gifs from your screen. Just record the screen, and edit it frame by frame using the editor.
Screen-To-Gif is one of the free technical documentation tools that can add a lot of value to your articles. Gif images reduces the requirement of long videos. Instead, you can break down the video into a combination of text as well as GIFs to explain the processes.
The editor is a full blown editor that allows you to add annotations, watermark, create border, control the speed of the GIF, remove frames, and so on.
Greenshot To Capture The Screen
For technical documents, screenshots play an important role. For instance, if you are writing an online user guide for a certain software product, adding a screenshot will help you explain things better, and will be a great aid for those referring it to set up and use the product.
Greenshot is a free product to capture the screen and its highlight is the editor that comes with it. For a free product, the editor has all the required features that can help you annotate the screenshot.
There are options for capturing too, you can either choose to manually capture the area, capture the whole window and so on. Moreover, Greenshot is completely flexible, there are plenty of options that can let you choose the image format, where you want to store your screenshot, and so on.
FireShot For Full Screen Capture
For longer pages where you want to capture all the way down till the end of the page, you will require a special tool for full screen capture.
FireShot, primarily an addon for FireFox, which now is available as an extention for Chrome as well, is a great way to capture the full screen. It is easy to use, intergrate and is a free tool.
Along with capturing the screen either as full or just the visibile window, the fireshot tool for technical documentation also has advanced features that can be accessed with premium upgrade.
Video makers and editors
This is the age of videos where it is really easy to create, edit and host videos. There is no reason why you shouldn’t include informative and helpful videos on your technical help site.
Video makers and editors form a very important part of technical documentation tools, where they can directly improve the user experience by making the whole learning process easier, and more convinient.
Videos on your technical documentation articles, add an element of interest, and make your content more interesting for the end users.
Sometimes, to depict how exactly a program/software works, you will require to record the screen of a computer. A video of the screen makes it much easier and quicker to explain how a certain program works or how to set it up.
Along with a screen recorder, it also features a video editor. It is a great way to create videos and communicate with them with specific features to create, edit and share the videos and images.
It provides a way to share ideas amongst the team workers for better documentation. It can also be a tool to create a screencast and add it to the documents.
Movavi Video editor
If you want to include videos in your documentation, they should be clean and precise. Long videos with unnecessary details can result in a poor experience. It will make the technical documentation unclear and complex. Therefore, any video that you decide to add to your documentation, should be properly edited.
Movavi video editor comes with free video editing options. Of course, there is a premium plan that you will need to subscribe to if you want to use the full features.
The highlight of this video editor is the intuitive options and user-friendly interface to edit the videos. Even if you have never edited a video before, you can start with Movavi and learn a lot just by exploring, and trying out all the options.
Whether it is for editing screen-cast or any other educational videos, Movavi is definitely worth a download if you are looking for video editors to create videos for your technical documentation.
Adobe Premiere Pro
If you want to generate custom videos for training, then Adobe Premiere Pro is your way to go. It is an advanced video editing tool to create professional-grade video clips that you can embed in your technical documentation.
Adobe premiere pro has high-level editing options, and you can use it with images, texts, vector graphics, screencasts, or a video recorded through Speech to text caption generation, video reformatting, and many many other options to create high-quality videos.
Adobe Premiere Pro is a premium tool that can be used as one of the technical documentation tools to enhance the usability of your technical documentation.
You can build a great technical documentation center with one of the technical documentation software solutions. They are designed to give you a quick start, just sign up, or install and start uploading your articles.
However, no matter how efficient the documentation center is, success can only be achieved if the documents added to it are informative and easy to follow.
Therefore, you should always strive to create technical articles which are not boring and include interesting multi-media elements that make them easier to understand and follow for the readers. These technical documentation tools will help you with that.
All of these are professional tools for developing documentation that intends to help technical writers write better and efficiently.