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Microsoft® Manual of Style for Technical Publications (BPG-Other) [Paperback]

Microsoft Corporation
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Microsoft Manual of Style : Your Everyday Guide to Usage, Terminology, and Style for Professional Technical Communications Microsoft Manual of Style : Your Everyday Guide to Usage, Terminology, and Style for Professional Technical Communications 2.7 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

3 July 2004 0735617465 978-0735617469 3

Developed by Microsoft’s senior editors and content managers, this manual of style captures the up-to-date standards and best practices for delivering clear and consistent technical communications. Now in its third edition, this popular reference has been fully revised, expanded, and optimized for ease of use. You’ll find new coverage on meeting the needs of a global audience, accessibility concerns, and the latest technical terms and acronyms—along with expertly organized sections on usage, grammar, punctuation, tone, formatting, and common style problems. Whether you’re creating print documentation, online help, Web content, or other communications, you’ll get the information and examples you need to maximize the impact and precision of your message.

Get clear, concise guidance to help you:

  • Use technical terms correctly and consistently—including do’s, don’ts, and alternatives for usage.
  • Employ the appropriate tone and voice for your audience.
  • Produce written and visual content suitable for a worldwide audience.
  • Apply best practices for writing and tagging Web content.
  • Write better documentation—from dialog boxes and error messages to Web pages and software code.
  • Know the standards for creating accessible communications.
  • Optimize your indexes, cross-references, and keyword lists.
  • Get fast answers on spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

CD includes:

  • Complete eBook inside

A Note Regarding the CD or DVD

The print version of this book ships with a CD or DVD. For those customers purchasing one of the digital formats in which this book is available, we are pleased to offer the CD/DVD content as a free download via O'Reilly Media's Digital Distribution services. To download this content, please visit O'Reilly's web site, search for the title of this book to find its catalog page, and click on the link below the cover image (Examples, Companion Content, or Practice Files). Note that while we provide as much of the media content as we are able via free download, we are sometimes limited by licensing restrictions. Please direct any questions or concerns to

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; 3 edition (3 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735617465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735617469
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,437,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Developed by senior editors and content managers at Microsoft Corporation.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful 25 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book does what is says on the cover, is a good reference tool for users in the Microsoft documentation space
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorta' useful book, near-useless CD-ROM 6 Jun 2005
By Phrawm47 - Published on
I frequently document software that uses Windows GUI elements. So I've been using the WinHELP and HTMLHelp versions of the MS MOS for several years: Those earlier online versions of Microsoft's Style Guide made it easier and faster to take a quick look at a GUI naming or usage convention.

Lamentably the CD-ROM that accompanies the new version 3 of the MS MOS is a giant step backwards in usability. That's because the two PDF "e-books" (MOS and Networking Encyclopedia) on the CD-ROM are entirely static -- they contain NO clickable links WHATSOEVER.

What this means is that if you locate an entry in the on-line version's TOC or Index, you must use the "go to page" tool in Adobe Acrobat Reader to go to the page. This is an especially silly situation given that the PDFs meta-properties indicate that Microsoft used Adobe FrameMaker 7.0 (not Word) to produce the Style Guide: FrameMaker creates clickable cross-references by default, meaning that Microsoft manually disabled them as part of producing the Style Guide's PDF! (The third item on the CD-ROM, the Computer Dictionary comes as an HTMLHelp .chm file, so there are no problems with navigation there...)

If you intend to buy the print version of the MS MOS you'll be satisfied. If you intend to buy this book because you want the latest, greatest *on-line* version of the Style Guide, FORGET IT.

08 July, 2008 UPDATE. After using the PDF for about three years, I'm even more frustrated by Microsoft's incompetence. In the name of "intellectual property" (one of Microsoft's favorite words), the company has created a nearly-useless PDF while failing to truly achieve its misguided security aims.

As I said in my original review, the lack of clickable cross-references means you must instead manually go to a page listed in the TOC or Index. But wait -- the geniuses at Microsoft didn't bother to correlate the PDFs logical and physical page numbers. Yes, if we have full-featured Acrobat we can manually number the pages so that when we tell Acrobat or Reader to go page "x" it actually displays the desired page and not page "x-4" or thereabouts. But why should we have to do that?

But wait, it gets worse. We can't use full-featured Adobe Acrobat (as opposed to reader) to extract pages from the PDF and save them as a separate PDF. BUT we can -- and here's the absurdity -- delete all pages we don't want to extract and save the result of that as a PDF. So we can extract pages, but not directly...

We also can't print *any part* of the PDF. So if we want to print, say, four pages about heading usages we can't do that. The style guidelines are in some way "proprietary" I guess, and so simply must be protected against unauthorized sharing...

Then, too, while looking for a way to print a few pages, I discovered that I couldn't export the PDF as a Postscript or encapsulated Postscript, but I could export it as a Word or Word RTF file. So we can save the contents in some unlocked formats but not others. Brilliant...

In the end, Microsoft's preoccupation with "locking up" the online version of its Style Guide has only succeeded in wrecking the Guide's usability while only partially achieving the desired level of security. How like Microsoft to get it wrong that way...
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Typical Microsoft 7 May 2007
By M.S - Published on
This book ok, but not great. Some of their standards are a little antiquated.

If you are a software tech writer, check out the Sun Technical Publications, Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, Second Edition.

If you work in the Mac world, then get the "Apple Publications, Style Guide." It is available free on the web.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'bible' of essential information 12 Dec 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Technical writers, journalists, editors and any who write about computer technology or employ content for worldwide audiences will find this newly updated and expanded third edition of Microsoft Manual Of Style For Technical Publications to be a 'bible' of essential information covering everything from how to write better documentation supporting web sites to knowing standards for accessible communications. This could have been featured in our computer books section but any involved in the modern literary world should have it too: it covers the basics of how to optimize computer-based writing systems and addresses all the common style problems along the way.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 13 July 2004
By Todd Hawley - Published on
This third edition reflects the changes in the world of writing manuals, not just for print but also online (the web, online help, etc). While it's been a few years since the previous edition, Microsoft has made up for that by changing the book's format and including three "ebooks" on the CD (the style guide itself, Microsoft Computer Dictionary, and the Microsoft Networking Dictionary) that comes with the book.
The previous edition had all subjects alphabetized, which has changed somewhat in this edition has changed that. The book's first part is devoted to alphabetized subjects (called the Usage Dictionary). However the book's first part is devoted to other writing topics, ones which the book's authors obviously felt deserved their own major sections. Subjects like "documenting the user interface," format and layout, global content, indexing, common style issues, grammar, and punctuation. All topics in the book's first part are discussed throughly. And topics not discussed in the first part are addressed alphabetically in Part 2 of the book titled the "Usage Dictionary." The book's Table of Contents lists each item in the Usage Dictionary for easy referral.
I also liked how the authors recognized the changing world of documentation in the introduction where they point out how people using computers can be anyone from "home users," who use their computer for simple tasks, all the way to software developers, who produce programs for computers.
While this is intended for writers documenting Windows software, it serves well on its own as an excellent style guide.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the next edition 4 Nov 2009
By Robert Felice - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very good book, but please take note, it is currently out of print. Bear in mind, when you buy the 3rd Edition, you are getting a book that is slightly dated.

The book originally had a suggested price of US $29.99, CN $43.99. The same book now sells upwards of US $100, on this and other web sites.

The 3rd Edition was published in 2004, and I'm guessing from the publishing history of the previous editions that Microsoft will bring out the 4th Edition before the end of 2011. If you can get by with an alternate resource until then, save yourself some money and wait.

If you absolutely have to have this book, then by all means order your copy from one of the fine merchants here.

On the other hand, if you know with absolute certainty that Microsoft will never publish another edition, you might consider buying several copies as investments :)
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