Writing Tips

Anindita Basu

Do not repeat the text of the title in the first sentence of your topic.

When your topic gets pulled into search results, what is displayed is the title of the topic (in the form of a link) and the first few words in that topic.  If the first sentence of the topic uses the same words as the title, you are losing that much screen space, which you could have otherwise used to write an abstract for the topic.

Do a Find-Replace for words you know you misspell often

Running a spell-check is fine but it is easy for the automaton to miss the typos that, otherwise,  are valid words.  Here is an illustrative list of words that will always be missed by computerized spellchekers: sue (use), lick (click), filed (field).

Ensure that index entries point to no more than two topics

Anything more than two topics (or, pages) and the reader is confused about where to jump.  If you find an index entry with several possible jumps, turn the entries into more something that is more specific.

About the Author

Anindita Basu is an editor at IBM. She can be reached at anindita_basu@shortmail.com.

Acknowledgments: The comic strip was created at http://www.pixton.com/balance


  1. Nice tips. For tip #1, it would help if you provided an alternate phrasing.

  2. 🙂 I thought that would be spoonfeeding, so I desisted.

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