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Technical Writers’ Companion

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Always start with the main point

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On all levels, provide the key message as soon as possible. Place the main points:

in the first topic of a section

on top of the page or screen

at the beginning of a subsection rather than in the middle

at the beginning of a paragraph rather than in the middle

at the beginning of a sentence rather than in the middle

in the first table column

in the first table row

on the left side of a figure (in languages that are read from left to right)

The position in front is the most prominent position:

Readers assume that what comes right at the beginning is more important than what comes somewhere else.

Readers remember better what comes at the beginning than what comes somewhere else.

When readers skim a text, what comes at the beginning is easier for them to find than what comes somewhere else.

Readers who don’t read the full topic at least read the key message at the beginning.

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Watch the order of words

Structuring: Primary structure models

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