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Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications with CD-ROM, Second Edition


Everyone who writes about computing needs this book, from technical writers to journalists to marketers. This authoritative reference is now fully updated and extended to cover the latest advances in computing, including important Microsoft technologies, publishing on the Web, Internet topics and terms, and more. And of course, it offers all the hard-to-find facts and easy-to-use features that have established it as the standard in its field.

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Everyone who writes about computing needs this book, from technical writers to journalists to marketers. This authoritative reference is now fully updated and extended to cover the latest advances in computing, including important Microsoft technologies, publishing on the Web, Internet topics and terms, and more. And of course, it offers all the hard-to-find facts and easy-to-use features that have established it as the standard in its field.

Organized alphabetically for easy lookup, this book is a gold mine of information, including:

- Correct and consistent usage of terminology, with an emphasis on technical computer terms, punctuation, grammar, design and interface elements, and more

- Clear practical advice on good writing practices — everything from using verbs effectively to maintaining the right voice for a chosen audience

- Words commonly misspelled in technical documents

- Terms to avoid

- How to recognize jargon

- How and when to use abbreviations and acronyms

All this makes the "Microsoft Manual Of Style For Technical Publications, Second Edition", required reading for writers, editors, and anyone else who needs to put it correctly, clearly, and cogently.

Is it email or e-mail? Is it Internet or internet? This guide has the answers. Designed for writers, editors and journalists, this comprehensive reference provides updated Internet terminology and usage rules. With clear, alphabetized examples, it covers spelling, definitions, sentence structures, technical writing issues and design interface elements. Although particularly apt for technical editors, this guide can also be used by meticulous business people.

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Editorial Reviews

In days of yore, manuals of style were assembled by professional bodies, such as the University of Chicago for commercial publishing and the Modern Language Association for academic writing. The nature of the computer industry is reflected in its manual of style being produced by the weightiest corporation in it. It sets out conventions for usage, spelling, sentence style, technical writing issues, and design and interface elements. No date is noted for the first edition; the second includes more emphasis on the Internet and World Wide Web, and doubtlessly exploits features of the latest version of Windows. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572318908
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press
  • Publication date: 5/13/1998
  • Series: General Computing Titles
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
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Part A

...Abbreviations and Acronyms

Use abbreviations (the shortened form of a word) and acronyms (word formed from the initial letters of a phrase) sparingly. Some usually acceptable abbreviations are those for bytes, A.M. and P.M., the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (U.K.), and, in some cases, units of measure.

For specific abbreviations and acronyms, check for individual entries in this guide; see the List of Acronyms and Abbreviations (Appendix A), or Measurements.


Technically, an abbreviation is a shortened form of a word, an acronym is a pronounceable word, and an initialism is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of words in a phrase, pronounced as individual letters (for example, SDK). In this guide, acronym is usually used to refer to an initialism.

In general, spell out the complete term the first time an abbreviation or acronym appears in the text, reference topic, or Help topic. Then show the abbreviation or acronym within parentheses.


1-gigabyte (GB) hard disk
information stored in random access memory (RAM)

In subsequent references, you can use just the abbreviation or acronym. However, use editorial judgment. In related online documents, spelling out the term once in the overview or a primary topic may be sufficient. In long printed documents, it may be a good idea to spell out the abbreviation or acronym again when it appears in a later chapter or if many pages separate subsequent references from the spelled-out term. On the other hand, if a common abbreviation or acronym such as "KB" or "RAM" appears often in various Help topics, forexample, it's not necessary to always spell it out. Also, check with your localization specialist to see if an acronym is familiar to foreign users. If it is, you can spell it out less frequently.

It's acceptable to use an acronym in a heading, but do not spell out its meaning in the heading. Instead, use and spell out the full term in the first sentence after the heading, if it hasn't been spelled out previously.

Choose a preceding indefinite article ("a" or "an") based on the acronym's pronunciation--for example, "an ANSI character set" or "a WYSIWYG system." To form the plural of an acronym, use a lowercase "s" without an apostrophe.


a SCSI system
an SDK
several IFSs
an OEM
three OEMs

In general, do not capitalize a spelled-out phrase; see individual entries in your project style sheet and this guide for exceptions.


random access memory (RAM)
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

-able, -ible (suffix)

If you can't find the spelling of a word ending in the suffixes "-able" or "-ible," in the American Heritage Dictionary, use these guidelines to form the spelling:

  • Drop the final "-e" (the most usual practice in American English): "scalable," "updatable."
  • For words ending in "-y" as a final syllable, change the "y" to "I": "undeniable."
  • For words ending in "-ce" or "-ge," retain the final "e" to maintain the soft sound: "bridgeable," "changeable."
  • For words that double the final consonant in past participle form, double the consonant before the suffix: "biddable," "forgettable." Exception: words ending in -fer (transferable).
The suffix "-able" is much more common than "-ible," especially for new word formations.

For more information, see Fowler's Modern English Usage.


Do not use in end-user documentation; instead, use "end" to refer to communications and network connections, "quit" for programs, and "stop" for hardware operations.

"Abort" is acceptable to use in programmer or similar technical documentation if it is a function name, parameter name, or otherwise part of a name in the API, but avoid it otherwise. In general text, use another appropriate word instead.


To end your server connection, click Disconnect Network Drive on the Tools menu.
Quit all programs before you turn off your computer.
To stop a print job before it's finished, click Cancel.
The PHW_CANCEL_SRB routine is called when the minidriver should cancel a request with STATUS_CANCELLED.


Do not use to mean earlier in a book or online document; use previous, preceding, or earlier instead. You can also use earlier to refer to a chapter or section heading. Do not use above as an adjective preceding a noun, as in "the above section."

To show a cross-reference to another Web page, use a specific HTML hyperlink. Do not make assumptions about the user's path through a site. Even if you refer to a location on the same scrollable Web page, make the reference itself a link. Do not use above.


See What Is a Copyright?
See "Connecting to the Network," earlier in this chapter.

SEE ALSO Cross-References

accelerator key

Obsolete term to refer to a keyboard key or key combination. Do not use. Use shortcut key instead.

SEE ALSO shortcut key


Acceptable to use in the sense of accessing data or a process, especially in programmer documentation. Otherwise, avoid as a verb, as in "access a program." It's technical jargon. Use gain access to, log on to, start, switch to, or another similar term instead.


Start the program either from the Start menu or from Windows Explorer.
You can access your personal data from the company intranet.
You can create shortcuts to quickly switch to programs you use often.

SEE ALSO start, switch

access key

The key that corresponds to an underlined letter on a menu, command, or dialog box option. Use this term only in material about customizing the interface. In nontechnical material, use the underlined letter.

SEE ALSO Key Names, shortcut key...

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Table of Contents

A-Z Reference
Appendix A List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Appendix B Special Characters
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