Types of Technical Writing: What the Various Types of Technical Writing Mean

by Outranking
Updated On: January 18, 2023
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Types of Technical Writing What the Various Types of Technical Writing Mean

Types of Technical Writing What the Various Types of Technical Writing Mean

Technical writing is difficult.

It can be frightening, confusing, or overwhelming to work with the many different types of technical writing that exist today.

To make matters worse, there are plenty of people who don’t understand what these types of writing are or why they’re important for a business. They’ll ask you about functions of Microsoft Word instead of the writing and editing process because it’s easier for them to learn what the software does than how it’s supposed to be used!

That’s why I’ve created this resource for you.

It’s a list of all the major types of technical writing and what they mean, with advice on how to decide which type is best for your project or business.

What is technical writing?

what is technical writing

Technical writing is the act of communicating technical information through written or visual media. It often includes explaining how a product works and what its capabilities are, whether it’s an appliance, software program, or website.

There are many different types of technical writing, such as user manuals, software installation guides, service level agreements (SLA), requests for proposals (RFP), legal disclaimers, company documents, and annual reports.

The skill set needed to be successful in this field has changed rapidly over the years because it’s an example of a whole profession that is changing quickly.

In short, technical writing is a type of writing that requires direction and instruction. There are five principles: quality content, audience and purpose, accessibility, grammar, and style. Technical writers need to be aware of these elements when developing their product so they can deliver clear instructions for the audience’s need to complete tasks successfully.

Technical writing encompasses a set of documents and manuals that are created to provide information about the product, developers, audience, and tasks. The type of technical writing can be determined by analyzing the type of document or the intended readership.

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Why should you consider technical writing?

Technical writing is a form of communication that includes documentation for products. Technical writers help readers learn about products and use them correctly by communicating complex information in an easy-to-understand format.

Technical writing is used for a specific purpose. A technical report can be broken down into sections. Technical writing can also be divided into categories by reader, industry, or type of document (e-learning vs. manual).

Technical writing can also include a report or document that describes the findings and recommendations of technical experts. It’s important to understand what this type of writing entails because it can be used in many different ways, such as summarizing an academic paper for lay people, creating a guide to software usage and functions, reporting on research conducted by scientists, or presenting data from complex systems.

The key features of any good piece include accuracy and audience-based communication; your readers need to know exactly what you’re talking about and the document needs to be easy to read. Technical writers should understand what they’re presenting well because their expertise in the field is a key factor for any good technical report or paper.

What are different types of technical writing?

Technical writers assist in creating professional reports and reviews. They work with clients to create technical documentation, business status reports, financial reports, or legal case reviews. Technical writers often have a degree in engineering or science and experience writing for publication. A marketing technical writer that operates between consumers and businesses is a type of technical writer as well.

Technical writers are tasked with presenting policy and procedures in strict formality. They must never discriminate against any individual or group of people, whether that’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. Technical writing is also helpful for case studies because it tells the story of how technical decisions were made to reach a certain outcome. Product manuals should be written using marketing documentation techniques, which can help build trust among customers by highlighting key features and benefits while avoiding superfluous information.

15 types of technical writing and examples

types of technical writing with examples

1. End-user documentation

End-user documentation is written for the end user of a given product. It must be clear and concise, with specific examples that are easily understood by non-technical readers.

End-user documentation requires technical expertise. If a product or service has been created with various levels of complexity, then multiple types of end-user instructions have to be provided for the users. Examples include cell phone manuals, laptop manuals, and home networking system setup guides.

End-user documentation is written by technical writers. Technical writing is done in the software industry and for consumer electronics, home appliances, and items such as furniture that require assembly before use.

This is very similar to what a SAAS or software company produces and sends their users once they make a purchase.

2. Medical technical writing

Medical technical writing is a form of technical writing that pertains to medical research, diagnosis, and treatment. It may also deal with the administration or operation of hospitals or other public health facilities.

Medical technical writing may involve clinical research or summarizing the results of a study. It might include recommendations for new treatments and therapies. It could also include writing about medical ethics and the history of medicine.

Medical technical writing can be difficult because medical terms are often complicated and specific to a field or topic. Furthermore, medical technical writing usually includes a complex sentence structure that must accurately convey information.

Examples of medical technical writing can be found on websites like Healthline or WebMD.

3. Traditional technical writing

Traditional technical writing is meant for professionals who have expertise in a subject. An expert writer has specific knowledge to share with other professionals, which is why it’s called “technical.” Technical writing could include instructional materials for software manuals or procedural documentation. Traditionally, it was limited to printed user manuals of some sort.

Traditional technical writing includes types of documents in technical writing such as software user manuals or how-to instructions for a machine.

4. Case studies

“White papers” are written to highlight a company’s success with certain products or services. Case studies provide the experience of one customer and how they were met with a product that helped them achieve their business goals.

Case studies are used to show how a particular product can help you and your business. They could be written in the form of examples, testimonials, or customer reviews.

For technical case studies, you can look for the case studies by IBM on their cloud technology or IBM Watson.

5. Proposals and pitches

Technical writers can pitch and write proposals for B2B companies. They prepare pitches for business plans and help to persuade readers to approve projects. Technical writers can write for different readers and industries, based on their skillset.

These technical writers are experts in persuading readers to approve projects. They also help by writing for various industries.

6. Brochures

Brochures are a type of technical writing. Technical writers use key phrases to entice potential customers into buying products through clear descriptions and functions, which can be very useful in producing marketing emails, sales letters, or product leaflets, among other types of promotional materials.

Many companies need help with producing promotional brochures. The technical writer needs to inform potential customers of the offer being made and should also include a call-to-action for reaching out.

7. Online articles

Technical writing includes the act of communicating complex ideas and information to less technical audiences. It can be anything from assembling a crib to medical advice or historical information.

Articles with detailed medical advice or historical information are typically technical but might not always have as many visuals as those for assembling a crib.

Many blog posts on Outranking are technical in nature.

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8. Press releases

Press releases are formal announcements of new information for a company’s consumers. These releases fall under the category of marketing communications, which can also include other types of technical writing such as articles, white papers, case studies, and press kits.

9. White papers

White papers are marketing tools meant to highlight the success stories of a company’s product or service. The technical writer is responsible for investigating problematic topics and integrating products from the company.

For examples of technical white papers, you can simply check https://cloud.google.com/whitepapers. This contains all the Cloud white papers published by Google.

10. Instruction manuals

There are many types of technical writing. These include instruction manuals, manuals for people who want to learn, and step-by-step guides.

The instruction manuals might be a how-to guide on using particular software or the manual for your new vacuum cleaner. These are probably the most common types of technical writing documents that we encounter in daily life.

11. Reports

Technical writing produces written work intended to convey technical information in an accessible format. Technical report examples include research results with recommendations and conclusions.

Although technical reports are not often peer-reviewed, academic publishers may offer some tips on how to write them. A technical report is like a primary form of a scientific paper when it’s not published in an academic journal or conference proceedings.

12. User help guides

User help guides are broken down into sections according to the type of help needed. User guides offer clear and sensible information for users about features, possibilities, and use cases. For examples, see ClickHelp’s gallery of help guides.

Or try hitting F1 on your keyboard to open the user help page of the app you’re using.

13. Technical books

Technical books typically cover a technical topic and are the most popular type of technical writing. They also tend to be more expensive than other types of technical writing.

Any coding or programming language books are great examples of technical books.

14. API documentation

Technical writers create API documentation. The documentation contains all the information required to work with the API and is used by developers. Some types of API technical writing are specific to certain industries, such as healthcare or software development. Examples and tutorials are included in documentation so that users can get started using an API quickly.

The API documentation is a technical document that provides answers to frequently asked questions, troubleshooting instructions, and how-to guides. 

15. Technical descriptions

Different types of technical writing are used to communicate information about an object or process. Technical descriptions provide users with information about the product’s features and capabilities. The steps to writing a good technical description start by giving an overview of the object or process, followed by naming it and describing its function.

There are many other examples of advanced technical documents in different industries, such as architecture and engineering documents (A&E docs), help files, standard operating procedure manuals, and installation guides, which can be found online or in hard copy format with the respective company’s brand logo on them.

How to learn a form of technical writing

Technical writing is documentation for technical communication. Technical writers must develop a comprehensive understanding of their subject to produce effective, professional written work. The most successful technical writers can take on multiple types of projects with ease and professionalism, which leads to long-term career success.

Technical writing is an umbrella term that includes various documents, including marketing work. Novice tech writers can decide on what type of documentation they want to do and then learn the associated skills needed.

10x your content production

Empowering writers, not replacing them.

The 7 basic principles of technical writing?

  1. Know all the facts in detail on what you are going to write.
  2. Plan and properly structure your document.
  3. Think about the user first.
  4. Use graphics.
  5. Use the active voice.
  6. Use simple language & avoid jargon.
  7. Do not be boring.

Industries where technical writers are hired

  • IT
  • Heavy machinery and automobile industries
  • Engineering industry
  • Software industry
  • Aerospace and aviation industry
  • Consumer electronics industry
  • Healthcare field
  • Education sector


Technical writing is tough, so before you write anything, do ample research to know about the topic you are about to write on. You can always get help from Outranking’s SEO content software to find concepts from the top SERP results to make your technical writing faster and more accurate.