References & Resources

Summary:A list of online and hard copy resources that writers and editors can use to maintain and improve publications of all kinds, especially technical publications. Feel free to post your own links here.

Benefits of reference sources

Established style guides and other references can help in cases when others challenge the validity of a way the writer has used English, written procedures, organized styles, defined a term, etc.

Many reputable resources for writers and editors on grammar, usage, research and other topics are now free online. However, hard copies of dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri and style guides are extremely handy reference sources.

At the very least, they can help you defend strong, clear writing against a contributor or administrator with inflated ideas about the value of his or her purple prose.


  • Editorial resources
  • Style Guides
  • English Dictionaries
  • Medical Dictionaries
  • Thesauri
  • Encyclopedias
  • Quotations
  • Online dictionaries, references, guides and more
  • Online non-reference resources
  • Email lists, discussion groups
  • Technical websites and other resources
  • Freeware & shareware software download sites

    Editorial resources

    (To be developed)

    Editing and style resources

    Style Guide by Jean Hollis Weber.
    Editing tips, techniques, and checklists by Jean Hollis Weber.

    Manual writing resources

    TBD – How to produce a top quality manual

    Project management resources


    Style Guides

    Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, Third Edition (for online and computer-related work)


    English Dictionaries

    · Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    · The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

    Medical Dictionaries

    Stedman\’s Medical Dictionaries
    Dorland\’s Medical Dictionary



    Citizendium– a free online encyclopedia.


    The Columbia World of Quotations – DVD/online version

    Online dictionaries, references, guides and more

    MS Word spelling and grammar checker, dictionary, reference books – (right-click on a word)
    Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary – http://www.merriam-webster.com/

    · American Heritage Dictionary online – http://www.yourdictionary.com/search.html

    The American Heritage® Book of English Usage – http://www.bartleby.com/64/

    · Roget\’s Thesauri – http://www.bartleby.com/thesauri/

    Thesaurus online – http://thesaurus.reference.com/
    Encyclopedia Britannica – http://www.britannica.com/bps/home

    · Columbia Encyclopedia – http://www.bartleby.com/65/

    Quotations (Bartleby) – http://www.bartleby.com/quotations/
    The Free Dictionary – Medical Dictionary – http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/
    BYU Corpus of American English (360+ million words) – http://www.americancorpus.org/
    Chicago Manual of Style online tools – http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools.html

    · Several online style guides – http://members.aol.com/willadams/books-style-manuals.html

    MerckSource medical dictionary and resource – http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_home.jsp

    Online non-reference resources

    Email lists, websites and discussion groups for technical communicators

    TECHWR-L – technical communication email group & website

    HATT – help authoring tools and techniques email group & website

    Technical Editors\’ Eyrie – Useful site for editors of technical documentation

    Tim Mantyla\’s Technical Communication blog

    Tim Mantyla\’s Communication – Creativity – Innovation blog

    I\’d Rather Be Writingtechnical communication blog

    Writers UA – training, technical communication and user assistance professional website

    Technical websites and other resources

    HAT matrix – compare help authoring tools

    Interactive: Word 2003 to Word 2007 command reference guide

    One of the best sites for comparing HATS:

    Comparison of HAT Paradigms and Workflows


    WinWriters WritersUA – Help Authoring Tools – Products that provide comprehensive solutions to authoring Windows Help systems, designing web sites, and managing content. Utilities that address specific needs.


    Links about writing technical documentation and manuals, writer\’s organizations, software, and the current tech writing job market.

    http://tc.eserver.org/dir/Resources/Writing/Technical-Writing/– EServer Technical Communication Library – \”The EServer Technical Communication Library is a free, open-access index of works available online for professional, scientific and technical communicators (such as technical writers).

    Our goal is to provide tech comm practitioners, students, teachers and managers a comprehensive single location from which to access the complete body of knowledge in our field.\”

    Writing and editing manuals and online help

    Publish a great user manual


    Microsoft training & information

    MS Styles training


    Freeware & shareware software download sites

    Fight the \”bull\” with the Bullfighter – http://www.fightthebull.com

    SnagIt screen capture software – free download of older versions of this highly rated, powerful image manipulation software tool – www.downloadsquad.com/2007/11/26/get-snagit-7-25-from-techsmith-for-free/ and here http://www.labnol.org/software/download/free-download-snagit-with-serial-number/1841/

    SnagIt screen capture software – official site

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