Technical author training
Technical authoring training programme

5 days
In centre:
£1495+ VAT
Live online:
£1195+ VAT


Dates and booking

Live online training


Bristol training centre


Reading training centre

Key details

Key details

Comprehensive technical author training for newcomers, and existing technical authors who want to improve their skill set.

For over two decades Armada was a leading provider of technical authoring services. Our background in the industry makes us ideally suited to offering technical author training.

Our Technical authoring training programme comprises the following modules:

The programme has been revamped recently, with several new modules added to reflect the latest trends in technical documentation.

In-class or online

This course is available in-class at eight centres or live online.

Upcoming course dates

Live online training
Birmingham / Bromsgrove
Milton Keynes
View all course dates and book

Accredited technical author training

Armada is a long-standing business affiliate of the ISTC, the UK-based society for professional communicators. Our Technical author training programme has been accredited by the ISTC since 2012.

Lead instructor: Matthew Ellison

Scheduled technical authoring courses in 2023 are hosted by Matthew Ellison, who has over 30 years’ experience working as a user assistance and eLearning professional. To read a short bio for Matthew, see Expert trainer.

How will I learn?

Technical author training combines lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice. You carry out plenty of practical exercises to learn the techniques taught.

You have ample opportunity to discuss your specific requirements with the trainer.

Technical author training materials and certificate

Course delegates receive:

  • Comprehensive training material, to refer to throughout the course and use as a refresher afterwards.
  • Checklists and job aids to focus each stage of the writing process.
  • Report and user manual templates that incorporate best practice design and structure as taught in the courses.
  • Resources to use back in the workplace.
  • An e-certificate confirming successful course completion. Click here to see an example of the certificate you receive.

After course support

Following technical authoring training, delegates are entitled to 30 days’ email support from their trainer to help with any post-course issues. For further details, see Support.


No prior technical authoring knowledge is necessary.

Our guarantees to you

We offer:

On-request technical authoring training available

Our Technical authoring training programme is available on-request, i.e. one-to-one training or a ‘closed course’ for your group, hosted at one of our centres, your venue or online.

On-request technical authoring training can be tailored to take into account any existing knowledge you have, and the work you’re going to be doing. Please contact us for a quote.

General information

General information

Course times



Payment for technical writing training can be made by:

  • Bank transfer. Please call 01527 834783 for our bank details.
  • Card. All major credit and debit cards accepted. Payment can be made securely online or over the phone. Card payments are processed by Stripe. Armada doesn’t record or store your card details.

Purchase orders

We accept purchase orders from UK-registered companies and public sector organisations.

Cancellations and transfers

You can cancel a booking on a scheduled training course, or transfer to a later course, without penalty providing you give us 10 working days’ notice. Any fees already paid will be refunded.

If you cancel a booking on a scheduled Technical authoring programme course giving less than 10 working days’ notice, or request a transfer to a later course, a cancellation/transfer fee is payable. The fee charged depends on the notice period given. For details, see cancellation terms.

Different terms apply for the cancellation or postponement of an on-request course (one-to-one training or a ‘closed course’ for your group). For details, see course cancellations.

Terms and conditions

Training course bookings are subject to our terms and conditions.

Expert trainer

Expert trainer

Matthew Ellison

Matthew Ellison Autodesk Certified Instructor

Matthew has over 30 years’ experience working as a user assistance and eLearning professional in the software industry. Some of this time was spent managing a team of writers and trainers at a UK-based consulting company, before enjoying a period in the US as Director of the WinWriters (subsequently WritersUA and UX Writer) Conference. He continues to provide consultancy to software companies throughout the world who need documentation and user assistance for their products.

Matthew has a B.Sc. in Electronic Engineering and a PGCE from Bristol University, and has been a part-time lecturer at Portsmouth University for the MA Technical Communication course. He is a MadCap-Certified Instructor, an authorised trainer for EC Software’s Help+Manual and an expert in many other user assistance tools and technologies.

Matthew has been a popular speaker at conferences in Europe and the US since 1997. He regularly publishes articles and reviews on user assistance tools and technology.

Course content

Course content

Introductory module (day 1)


Introduction and objectives

Recommended reading list

Why good writing is important and the costs of documentation

Know your audience

Understand and prioritise the different categories of your audience and handle different levels of reader

Research the basic tasks of your audience

How to structure your documents

Understand which sections to include in your manuals and the order in which they should be placed

Write from a design

Use mind mapping techniques for designing a document

Learn how to plan the content of your document before you start writing

Skills of writing – 12 golden rules

Learn the 12 golden rules of writing to help you develop a clear and concise style

Use readability checking and testing techniques

Punctuation and grammar

Understand the basics of punctuation and grammar

Avoid the six most frequently made errors that occur in writing

Document layout

Understand the basics of layout and typesetting

Learn how to format your document for maximum impact

Reviewing and proof reading

How to check your documentation to ensure it is error free

Use industry standard techniques for reviewing, rewriting and proof reading

Intermediate module (days 2 and 3)

Introduction and overview

Basics of technical writing

Why don’t readers use technical writing?

  • Five key reader problems
  • What readers want
  • Why consistency is so important

Writers’ problems with technical writing

  • The main cause of ineffective writing
  • Types of writing
  • Standards for technical writing

The technical writing process

Project managing your writing

  • A process to achieve consistency
  • The technical writing process
  • Timings for a writing project

Planning your writing

  • Setting document objectives
  • Plan – draft – rewrite!

Analysing your audience

  • Understanding your readers
  • Audience analysis
  • Four key audiences
  • The global audience
  • The audience you don’t support

Adding detail to your audience analysis

  • Using personas
  • Communication styles
  • Other communication style issues

Creating effective content and structure

Creating a body of knowledge

  • Defining structure and content
  • Structuring with sections
  • Topic-based authoring & DITA

Topic generation techniques

  • Introductions and conclusions
  • Generating topics for a structure
  • Structuring with the LATCH principle
  • Outlining tools

Creating an outline prototype

  • Creating headings that work
  • Writing better headings
  • Testing the prototype

Creating cohesion:

  • Handling repetition and redundancy
  • Transitions that work
  • Sentence structure
  • Sections that work

The Building Blocks of Content

  • Basic sentence structures
  • Topic sentences and controlling ideas
  • Writing a clear topic sentence
  • Establishing the topic and controlling idea

Using paragraphs

  • Paragraph structure
  • Linked paragraphs help readers
  • Creating effective paragraphs

Clarity in technical writing

Clarity issues with English

  • Language customs
  • Common writing styles
  • Simplified Technical English
  • STE controlled dictionary*

Grammar issues affecting technical writers

  • Pronouns
  • Modifiers
  • Synonyms

Consistency and correctness

The Importance of consistency

  • Achieving consistency
  • Typographical errors
  • Spelling forms
  • Numbering
  • Capitalisation

Punctuation standards

  • Commas
  • Colons, semi-colons, ellipses
  • Hyphens
  • Apostrophes in action

Copy editing and proofreading

Putting it all together

Building readability into your documents from the start

  • Enough or too much?
  • Capstone exercise

Technical writing tools

  • Writing tools for technical writers
  • Image creation tools for technical writers

Advanced module (days 4 and 5)

Introduction and overview

Defining readability

The technical writing process

  • Building readability
  • How people take on information
  • Working with how the brain works

Given/new and readability

  • Given/new – using a universal glossary
  • Structuring for readability
  • Reducing inferential load

Signalling in your document

  • Signalling with headings
  • 3-step process for effective headings
  • Signalling with sentences
  • Customer-focused persuasion

Business and design standards for technical documentation

Standards for technical writing

  • Darwin Information Typing Architecture
  • DITA and XML
  • Company style guides and standards
  • External standards

Types of style guides

  • Example style guide content
  • Creating a style guide
  • Using editorial reference guides

Creating better graphics

Designing the page

  • How readers process technical documents
  • Improving your document’s functionality

Basic rules of graphics

  • Controlling layout with tables and grids
  • Microsoft Word vs DTP software

Page design:

  • Typefaces, fonts, and white space
  • Layout and alignment

Expressing information with graphics

  • Identifying what works as a graphic
  • Getting the right level of detail using, photos, drawings and charts and graphs

Checking document integrity

Formal document structure and templates

  • Headings and the ToC
  • Other tables and lists
  • Checking
  • Captions and graphics
  • References and notes

Online vs print

  • Checklists for print and online
  • Checklist for online

Copy editing and proofreading

  • Marking up proofs
  • Using formal proof correction symbols
  • Checking your text
  • Checklist: proofreading and copy editing

Writing for multiple platforms

Targeting your platforms

  • Size and shape of the screen
  • Using responsive design

How readers scan pages online

  • Identifying what must be written
  • Building the inverted pyramid

Headings, menus, and links

  • 3-step process for effective menus:
  • Menus vs. links
  • Writing links that work

The online hierarchy

  • 4 key criteria for an effective home page
  • Creating transitional and content pages

Accessibility initiatives

  • Basic accessibility guidelines
  • BBC online rules

Grammar issues

Focusing sentences to communicate to the reader:

  • Putting the reader first
  • Different types of sentence
  • Making your writing more concrete

Key grammar problems in technical authoring

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Complete sentences
  • Missing information
  • Unreadable text and how to fix it

Grammar and syntax

  • Usage issues
  • Creating cohesion terms: redundancy and transitions
  • Using parallel construction: sentences, tables and lists, headings

Editing and writing with others

Planning to meet your deadlines

  • Planning and estimating
  • Planning metrics
  • Meetings: objectives, rules, top ten issues, checklists

Feeding back to team members

  • The SBI model: delivering effective feedback
  • Questions to ask in difficult situations
  • People problems: communication styles*

Creating communication in the work environment

  • VAK: seeing, hearing, feeling
  • Filtering information with VAK preferences
  • Benefits of VAK preferences
  • Keeping the team Informed
  • increasing team involvement

Capstone exercise

  • Putting it all together
Live online training

Live online training

Live online training lets you participate in a course from your place of work or home.

We do everything possible to make your online training experience as close as possible to actually being in the classroom. You can:

  • See and hear our trainer, and the other delegates participating in the course…
    Live online training - see your trainer and the other course delegates
  • Interact by speaking, using chat, or raising your ‘virtual hand’ if you need assistance.
  • Share your screen with our trainer, and allow them to take control to explain something.

Like our in-class courses, online courses…

  • Are presented by expert instructors.
  • Give you plenty of opportunity to carry out assisted, practical exercises.
  • Offer 30 days’ email support from your trainer.

All you need is an Internet-connected computer with a webcam and audio capability. We provide everything else…

  • Links to download the files, resources, etc. you’ll use in your course.
  • A training guide. For most courses, you can choose from a printed copy that we post to you, or a PDF.

In the week before your course, we’ll send you an email containing everything you need to prepare for and participate in the training. Then, a couple of days before your course, we’ll give you a courtesy call to make sure you have everything in place and answer any questions you may have.

Please note that we are not able to record scheduled online courses for privacy reasons.

When you attend live online training, you’re participating in a real course, hosted by a real trainer, in real time





To make your technical writing training as affordable as possible, we offer:

Training discounts

Multiple places

If you book multiple places on any courses, we can offer you:

  • 10% discount if you book two places.
  • 15% discount if you book three or four places.
  • 20% discount if you book five or more places.

This can be for several people attending one course, one person attending several courses, or a combination.

These discounts are available for both classroom-based courses and live online training.


We offer a 10% discount on scheduled technical writing course places to:

  • Students, teachers and lecturers.
  • People who work for a registered charity.
  • ISTC members.

These discounts are available for both classroom-based courses and remote training.

Please call us if you qualify for a discount. Evidence of your status that entitles you to a discount may be requested.

Terms and exclusions

Only one of the above discounts can be applied to any booking.

The above discounts are not available for on-request course bookings (one-to-one training or a ‘closed course’ for your group).

Price guarantee

When you book training with Armada, we want you to be certain that you’re not paying over-the-odds. So, if you book a place on any scheduled (public) course and then find the same course at a lower price elsewhere, we will match that price.

To qualify for the price match:

  • The course you find must be comparable. By this we mean it must:
    • Cover the same subject.
    • Be the same duration or longer.
    • For classroom-based courses, be in the same region, i.e. within 50 miles of our centre.
    • For online training, be a live course, i.e. not pre-prepared e-learning content.
  • The lower price must be advertised on the other company’s website.

To claim a price match, just call any time before attending your course and tell us where you saw the price.

“ I truly appreciate the value, and enjoyment Matthew brought to this experience. I am eagerly looking forward to implementing the knowledge gained in the future.”

Nneka A

“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience being an attendee on the course Matthew ran. I'm looking forward to applying what I've learnt!”

Denise E

“Matthew is a great trainer, with very helpful insights into his field. he is clearly a very knowledgeable man. ”

Mike T

“Technical writing broken down into logical, easy to understand steps - Very engaging and interactive enough to keep me interested.”

Elsie B

“I found the course extremely helpful. It was informative and practical, and I will definitely be applying what I've learnt in my day-to-day job. I particularly enjoyed Matthew's engaging way of presenting the material. His feedback on the practical exercises was very encouraging for me as a technical author. Armada was also very good at organising the training - sending timely updates and following up on any questions and requests. Thank you for the excellent course!”

Regina W

“I attended the online seminar training course for 5 consecutive days with the trainer, Matthew, and it was extremely informative for me. I started this course as a beginner and the placement of topics and flow of the seminar was easy to follow. I learnt a lot during this course that I can now implement in my day-to-day work as well as a lot of tips and tricks that were given throughout the course from both the trainer and others that attended. 10/10.”

Jordan D

“The instructor delivered the course in an informative, interesting, and effective manner. The instructor provided helpful and practical feedback for all questions. I look forward to practicing and applying the knowledge and techniques acquired.”

Duke W

“I really enjoyed the course, Crow has so much experience and knowledge to share, she was approachable and made time to speak one-to-one if required. The process from booking to starting the course was extremely well organised. ”

Debbie H

“Overall this course was a really good use of my time and very interesting. Crow made us feel very comfortable and got through this mountain of information and still had time for some hilarious anecdotes and comments. Thanks again!”

Antonia H

“Overall this course was a really good use of my time and very interesting. Crow made us feel very comfortable and got through this mountain of information and still had time for some hilarious anecdotes and comments. Thanks again!”

Antonia H

“I really enjoyed the course and think I will find it very helpful in the future. The trainer was excellent; knowledgeable and engaging throughout.”

Jackie L

“I think it must be difficult delivering training under the current circumstances and without the classroom dynamic, but I thought Crow was really skilled at keeping us on track and lightening the mood! She also gave really helpful feedback on the course exercises and answered questions thoroughly.”

Rebecca G

“I'd like to thank Crow again for delivering these sessions. Even though the course was online it was still very engaging and enjoyable, and I learned a lot over the week.”

Sianne F

“The TA training makes you better at what you do in your day job. Being outside the profession means you have to work twice as hard to stay on top of things. I am glad I did the course. I need to get into paid role to use my skills.”

Martin B

“Excellent technical author training - would highly recommend to others.”

Keith W

“Teaching from Peter Dillon was great, I leaned a lot in just a week and will put it to good use when I get back to work.”

Collins D

“I sat on the technical author course and absolutely loved it. Learnt so much from Nigel to take away and use in my job - and it was good to get other things I knew already confirmed. Nigel is a really nice guy and totally engaging. He made the whole day lots of fun. Looking forward to returning for more training with Armada soon.”

Andie D

“I attended the 5 Day Technical Author training. The course was very informative and Peter, our Instructor, was extremely knowledgeable and has a lot of experience. I learnt a lot that I can use in my day to day work. I would recommend this course to anyone that has to produce technical documents, including technical manuals, user guides proposals etc.”

Richard C

“Great Tech author course. I took away so much info it's going to take me a long time to process. The tools I have learned will increase my productivity ten fold.”

Tony P

“This has been a fascinating and engaging experience which has been an ideal guide of where to start in the world technical authoring. The course tutors were very knowledgeable and offered
advice of where to find the best source and reference material. This has been a week well spent.”

Daniel V

“Peter Dillon-Parkin is very knowledgeable and delivered an excellent Technical Authoring course. I believe my confidence will improve as I put these new skills into practice and I will secure a job in the near future.”

Alexa S

“Peter Dillon-Parkin is very knowledgeable and delivered an excellent Technical Authoring course. I believe my confidence will improve as I put these new skills into practice and I will secure a job in the near future.”

Alexa S

“This has been a fascinating and engaging experience which has been an ideal guide of where to start in the world technical authoring. The course tutors were very knowledgeable and offered advice of where to find the best source and reference material. This has been a week well spent.”

Daniel V

“Excellent training facilities, very informative.”


“I completed the full 5 day technical author training course. The course was delivered by Nigel and Crow, both experienced technical authors. I learnt some great practical techniques which I will be applying in my role at work.”

Lynne A

“I found the course extremely good. Really given me a lot to take away and think about. The course materials given were very comprehensive and useful and I'll be using them . I only knocked off a star because it was just so full of content that it felt that it would have been really handy to have a bit longer.”

Caite P

“I found the course the be really informative. Both Crow and Nigel were very friendly and clearly experienced trainers. The resources provided were excellent, particularly the comprehensive notes. I would recommend this course to others.”

David S

“Technical Authoring Training Programme delivered by Nigel and Crow was very informative, paced well and provided a great deal of support.”

Graham C

“Attended the Technical Author Advanced course, both Nigel and Crow were excellent tutors. I feel equipped to apply what I have learnt back in the workplace. Good course facilities. Would definitely return to do another course.”

Nancy S

“Having now completed the beginner, intermediate and advanced technical authoring courses with Armada training I would not hesitate to recommend Armada as a training provider. The training was tailored to our requirements and delivered with excellence by Crow to our team here on site at Panasonic Manufacturing UK Ltd.”

Richard S

“I just wanted to say thank you to you, Nigel and Crow for all you time, effort and support. I learnt a great deal from the course but the biggest benefit was the confidence I gained in my writing. I hope to be in touch in the coming months about training in Framemaker and Captivate.”

Angela P

“The trainer, Crow, was excellent. She presented the material in a very clear, interesting and informative way. She was able to answer most questions and if she didn't know the answer immediately, would come back with an answer shortly afterwards. She interspersed the material with interesting group exercises which added a bit of fun to the course. I particularly like the way she tailored the course around the group's requirements, and even tried to help with topics outside the scope of the course by loaning books on various subjects, such as Writing CVs and Time Management etc. The course material was also excellent, clear and followed a logical progression.”

David M

“I attended the Technical Authoring Training Programme this week, and wanted to say 'thank you' for a thoroughly enjoyable week. The course content was very impressive and Peter did a fantastic job. His big personality, warm stories and enthusiasm for the subject shone through. I will be sending Peter a separate email thanking him. I will certainly be returning to Armada for other courses, actually have my eye on a bit of Robohelp, but need to research the options and after a short mulling period, I'm sure you will see me return. Thanks again good people of Armada, great job.”

Matthew L

“I found templates, planning and content all very constructive. The whole course has given me an insight to Technical Authoring.”

Paul S

“The technical authoring courses I attended with Armada were extremely beneficial to me when starting out as a tech author. A new colleague is joining the department and I have recommended he attends these courses for the same reason. After a few more months experience with us, he will return for the advanced course. All the courses I have undertaken with Armada have been extremely good, and I hope to get the opportunity for more training soon!”

Mark H

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and have gained a lot more confidence and understanding with regards to document writing. The instructors were very knowledgeable, helpful and provided clear guidance on best practise for documentation creation.”

Glyn C

“As someone who was brand new to the profession, the 5-day technical authoring training programme was ideal for my needs. The course content was clear and comprehensive, and both Nigel and Crow were engaging, supportive, and knowledgeable teachers. I would recommend this course to others, and definitely intend on taking others by Armada in the future. Thanks for a great week!”

Christina S

“Really enjoyed the course. Been making myself unpopular at work letting them know how they are doing things wrong. Do you run a managing conflict course? Joking aside, was really impressed and one of the few courses I have been on that has provided immediate benefits for my writing skills. Pass on my thanks to Nigel and Crow.”

Frank V

“The course was clear and logical. I understand why some information was repeated as others may not have been on previous days and Crow was excellent at summarising which bits were repetition. Both Crow and Nigel were excellent tutors and I enjoyed their teaching styles and understood more than I thought.”

Lauren H

“Just a short note to thank you for the course. It was engaging and enjoyable - much more so than a similar online course I completed a few weeks ago. I have just applied for my very first technical authoring job.”

Tony S

“The course was useful, interesting and presented with high energy and great humour. I've come back to work enthused about what I am doing and looking forward to making changes.&”

Joanne W

“Excellent course and facilities. Thank you to Nigel and Crow for providing well-structured and thorough training in technical authoring skills and their application. Thank you also to Emily for excellent communication during the course booking process and to both ladies for the daily warm welcome, and ensuring that copious amounts of refreshments were available.”

Jane F