We have received quite a few positive reviews on the Microsoft Manual of Style, Fourth Edition. I would like to share a couple excerpts of this Slashdot review by Ben Rothke, who nicely explains the purpose of the manual and clearly understands its audience. Here are three pointed statements from Ben.
“Style guides by their very nature of highly subjective and no one is forced to take accept the Microsoft style as dogma. The authors themselves (note that the book was authored by a group of senior editors and content managers at Microsoft, not a single individual) note that they don’t presume to say that the Microsoft way is the only way to write. Rather it is the guidance that they follow and are sharing it with the hope that the decisions they have made for their content professionals will help others promote consistency, clarity and accuracy. With that, they certainly have achieved that goal.”
“The book provides thousands of suggestions on how to write better documentation, including:
do not use hand signs in documentation — nearly every hand sign is offensive somewhere
do not refer to seasons unless you have no other choice – since summer in the northern hemisphere is winter in the southern hemisphere
spell out names of months – as 3/11/2012 can refer to March 11, 2012 in some places and November 3, 2012 in others
use titles, not honorifics, to describe words such as Mr. or Ms. – not all cultures have an equivalent to some that are common in the United States, such as Ms.”
“This guide is a comprehensive manual for the serious writer of technical documentation, be it a high school student or veteran author. In fact, to describe the guide as comprehensive may be an understatement, as it details nearly every facet of technical writing, including arcane verb uses.”