Howard’s Technical Writing Blog

A technical writer’s miscellany

Archive for April, 2010

An intriguing job title

Posted by Howard Silcock on 12 April 2010

I recently received an email from an agent interested to hear from people with skills in technical writing and other areas. What intrigued me most about it was the job title under the author’s signature. It seems she was a ‘Competency Lead’. (I daresay the author didn’t expect me to give her signature block such critical attention. But when you work with words all day, as I do, sometimes you notice these things.)

I remember being similarly intrigued when I first saw the term ‘team lead’. My dictionary seemed to confirm my gut feeling that the noun ‘lead’ doesn’t usually apply to a person, except in the theatre. But I don’t suppose that would deter whoever once came up with that term in my workplace. It was used for a position slightly below ‘team leader’ (I worried that if my performance fell below par, I might be demoted from a ‘technical writer’ to a mere ‘technical write’).

However, the word ‘Competency’ in the agency’s email was even more puzzling. Does the agency have a section devoted specifically to competency? Isn’t that something that’s everyone’s concern—in every business?

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Using other people’s Word macros

Posted by Howard Silcock on 1 April 2010

A good feature of Microsoft® Office is that it provides a way for its users to write their own macros.  A macro is like a command that a user creates—a command that isn’t already provided within Word. It could be a very specific command, relevant only to the user’s own environment or even to a specific document. Or it could be a completely general command that Microsoft didn’t think to include—one that could be useful to many people. Some people spend hours developing macros (I’m one of them and recommend it as a hobby!) and you may find one of theirs could be useful for you. I’ll be sharing some of mine through the vehicle of this blog and this post will explain how you can use them if you wish to. Read the rest of this entry »

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