Authoring Tools

Authoring Tools

Tech writers spend most of their time using authoring tools to create, edit, and publish documentation. Authoring tools are the foundation on which documentation is built. Authoring tools include word processors, help authoring tools (HAT), Content Management Systems (CMS), and Component Content Management Systems (CCMS).

Types of authoring tools

  • Word Processors: Applications are used to primarily manage text-based documentation.
  • Help Authoring Tools (HATs): Specialized applications are used specifically for creating and publishing  technical documentation. Most HATs support single sourcing, context-sensitive help, multimedia support, and version control.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS): Applications or platforms are used by individuals and organizations to manage and publish large volumes of documentation. Apart from creating and editing content, we can use CMSs to organize content using categories and tags, use pre-defined but customizable templates and themes, and define role-based tasks for users (e.g., editors, authors, administrators).
  • Component Content Management Systems (CCMS): CCMSs offer the same benefits as CMSs, but their primary focus is to facilitate the creation and storage of modular content, i.e., to break down content into smaller and reusable components, like topics, chapters, images, videos, charts, etc., that can be edited separately.

Tech Writer’s Tribe conducted a survey to find out which tools are used by technical documentation team members. 529 participants from 78 cities in 12 countries participated in the survey. The survey had six primary sections and the results were divided into 16 categories. The categories include authoring tools, image/video/illustration tools, API documentation tools, CMS, CCMS, Docs as code process tools, versioning tools, and In-App tools.

The survey includes reports about tools used for the following:

  • Help Authoring tools
  • Word Processor tools
  • CCMS
  • CMS
  • API Documentation tools
  • In-App Documentation tools

View and Download the complete report as a PDF file. To access the PDF file, access Tech Writer’s Tribe App and navigate to Tools Category.

Survey Result

“Tools evidence the limitations of our bare hands. But they also evidence the creativity of a determined mind.”
- Craig D. Lounsbrough
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