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Microsoft® Manual of Style for Technical Publications (BPG-Other) Paperback – 3 Jul 2004

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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: 18.6 x 2.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,741,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Developed by senior editors and content managers at Microsoft Corporation.

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By S K Marshall on 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) 22 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Sorta' useful book, near-useless CD-ROM 6 Jun. 2005
By Phrawm47 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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
Typical Microsoft 7 May 2007
By M.S - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Superb 13 July 2004
By Todd Hawley - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A 'bible' of essential information 12 Dec. 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Update...Much needed...Much Improved 9 July 2004
By Eric Nelson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a technical writer I have been using the 2nd edition of this book for years as a primary resource. Obviously, its 1998 copy write date has made the 2nd edition more and more dated as time goes by.
I'm not going to go to specify which entries Microsoft has updated for this edition...I'll simply say that I have yet to look for an entry that should be there that wasn't. It's exactly what you'd expect for a new seems to be thorough.
What I did like is the book's new organization. It's divided into two sections:
1. General Topics
2. Usage Dictionary
The Usage Dictionary is essentially just like the 2nd edition, with all the latest XP terms and stuff. It's what I expected to get when I purchased the book.
The General Topics section is this volume's great improvement. Whereas topics like procedure guidelines, screen terminology, and grammatical suggestions were scattered throughout the 2nd edition (i.e., listed alphabetically) the editors realized that the 3rd edition would serve readers well if these types of entries had their own section. Consequently, the first 182 pages of the book contain chapters titled
1. Documenting the User Interface (includes naming conventions for screen terminology, dialog boxes, menus, etc.)
2. Content Formatting and Layout
3. Global Content
4. Content for Software Developers
5. Web Content
6. Indexing and Attributing
7. Tone and Rhetoric
8. Accessible Content
9. Common Style Problems
10. Grammatical Elements
11. Punctuation
12. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
This first section is so good, in fact, that it should be considered standard reading for anyone who's going to be writing technical documents. It's comprehensive yet easy-to-read.
The book also comes with a CD-ROM that contains electronic versions of the following:
1. Microsoft Manual of Style, 3rd Edition
2. Microsoft Computer Dictionary, 5th Edition
3. Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking, 2nd Edition
These e-books are not as convenient to use as the e-books that came with the 2nd edition (the new Style Manual e-book is just a big PDF), but they are nice resources to have...and I'll take what I can get. Certainly not a bad deal for the price.
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