Integrate 11 Powerful Tools for Best in Class Product Documentation

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Ciaran Sweet
on July 28, 2021 · · filed under Product Documentation Documentation Portals Best Practices Technical Writing Product Documentation Tutorials

Product teams need to create product documentation greatness to deliver best in class customer experiences. Documentation itself is like an encyclopedia for business products; the greater the accuracy and readability, the easier it is for your customers to understand your product and extract value.

Docsie is a powerful documentation management solution that directly targets these needs. Writers can create product documentation, edit documentation, and publish documentation to the web with a few taps on the keyboard and some simple clicks. The result is centralized, accessible product documentation with organization, global search, feedback collation, and rich media support.

We don't want to admit it, but… Docsie can't do everything… There are, however, excellent tools out there that Docsie users can integrate into their workflow. These tools help us to create product documentation, and we invite you to give them a try in Docsie with our free forever Startup plan!

Let's get writing!

Level Up Your Docsie Experience With 11 Powerful Tools

1. Pro Writing Aid

First, we have Pro Writing Aid. This is a grammar, spelling, and sentence structuring tool that helps writers create product documentation.

If your (oops!) unlikely to remember "you're" vs "your" when writing, this tool catches errors and provides contextual recommendations on the fly.

It can also provide a reading grade level (e.g. Grade 13), sentence variety monitoring (short sentences followed by long sentences), and passive voice ("I will do the work" vs "The work will be done by me").

Grammar, spelling, and sentence structuring is more important than many people give credit. When a customer sees bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and paragraph-long sentences – it makes them lose confidence in your product. For example, a high reading grade level for a product targeted to kids is counterproductive. Passive voice tends to waste screen real estate and feels roundabout for readers, whereas active voice is short, sweet, to the point.

Add Pro Writing Aid to your Docsie workflow; improve your words, inspire your customers.

2. QuillBot

Paraphrasing is a common practice in content development, and this rings true when you create product documentation. Sadly, as much as we want to believe it, we weren't the first person to have that idea and put pen to paper!

Paraphrasing is as simple as saying the same thing with different words. QuillBot is an AI software tool that automatically paraphrases for you, avoiding plagiarism and its reputational or copyright-related consequences.

"How would one go about paraphrasing?"

Just type your sentence, click "Rephrase", and a paraphrased excerpt will appear on the right side. Neat, huh?

Consider giving QuillBot a try along with Docsie if you repurpose content on the internet. We always recommend being original, QuillBot is simply a tool that automates originality.

3. Snagit

Product documentation isn't just words… it needs images and artwork to illustrate the full picture (pun intended). By providing step-by-step instructions with accompanying images, users have greater certainty and confidence when following user product guides.

On Windows, the Snipping Tool is available. For Linux, screenshots can be taken using (Shift/Alt)+PrintScreen keyboard shortcuts. On macOS, this is done with Shift+Command+5. Functionality is limited, however.

Next on our list of software documentation tools is Snagit. It goes one step further as an all-in-one screen capture tool. Users can take entire display screenshots, windowed screenshots, or draw a screenshot capture zone. Snagit can also capture video and voice recordings, such as through a webcam. The best part is its editing functionality, enabling annotations like arrows and text in screenshots, or trimming and sound overlay for GIFs and video.

Simply put, Snagit is a screenshot, video editing, and communications solution built for product documentation writers. Consider giving it a try the next time you need images for your Docsie Books!

4. Camtasia

From the makers of Snagit (is this a movie trailer?) – next we have Camtasia!

Camtasia is similar to Snagit, but focuses on screen recording and video editing. Users can take advantage of video templates with transitions and modern styles, and share templates with the team to streamline video creation workflows. The royalty-free Camtasia asset library adds visual flair without the copyright burden. Similar to Snagit, Camtasia supports annotations, device framing (full screen, windowed, draw an area), and dual-input audio recording (both microphone and system sound).

Camtasia on YouTube is so 2008, but it's not too late to start using this tool to create product documentation in Docsie. Give your docs some boom boom pow!

5. Tableau

Data truly makes the modern world go round! Raw data, however, is difficult to understand for humans. Computers deal with raw data all the time.

Tableau takes raw data and converts it into beautiful visualizations, making it easier for all audiences to see and interpret patterns, trends, and other data insights. It supports a wide range of database types including relational databases (RDBMS), non-relational databases (non-RDBMS) and object-oriented databases (OODBMS) – leading to virtually unlimited data visualization potential.

Here is an example Tableau visualization embedded in a Docsie Book.

Test this visualization yourself! Open Docsie, create product documentation (a Book), and select the Embed button in Docsie Editor. From here, paste the embed code and resize to fit your webpage (vizElement.style.width and vizElement.style.height attributes)

Embed Code (paste me!)

If your product documentation uses statistics and data, make it easier (and prettier) for users by using Tableau. Docsie supports Tableau embedding using iFrame technology, so give it a try!

6. Draw.io

An electrician never attempts to rewire and reroute electrical cables without a schematic or diagram. With that in mind, users can learn the ins and outs of your product faster when you provide diagrams and flow charts.

Product documentation writers can use Draw.io to create flowcharts and diagrams. This software documentation tool provides templates and hundreds of assets to build engaging, visually pleasing charts. For example, with computer systems and network topology, diagrams and flowcharts elucidate system hierarchy and the flow of data. Do the same for your products by elucidating underlying workflows and functionality

Draw.io is another tool that supports iFrame embedding. Create product documentation, then embed directly in your Docsie docs! Alternatively, you can take a screenshot with tools like Snagit, but we recommend iFrame as edits to the chart will propagate automatically.

7. Statista

Statistics increase the authority of documentation. To include statistics, try Statista when you next create product documentation for comparisons against competitors, to illustrate market conditions and how your products tackle it, or just to add some oomph!

Statista collects data across 170 industries in 150+ countries, making it one of the best digital sources of statistical data. All data is backed by peer-reviewed studies, and some data charts even show projections and forecasts.

Statista is great as it supports iFrame embedding, allowing you to embed graphs and charts in your Docsie documentation. These graphs and charts update over time, ensuring your statistics remain evergreen!

Create a Statista account and try embedding statistics in your next Docsie Book!

8. CodePen.io

Software product documentation is a different beast than physical products. It includes high-level technical information, code snippets, and dependencies – especially when catering to the developer or engineering crowd instead of layperson users.

A screenshot of JavaScript code offers little to developers and engineers reading your documentation, however. You can't Ctrl+C code if it's in an image! What they need is front-end code sandbox with build, test, and sharing functionality.

In a sea of software documentation tools, CodePen.io is particularly great for executing and illustrating sandboxed code.

Code in CodePen executes in real-time on the page, showing exactly what your code does to users. This is great if your product supports custom code, as you can share a library of templated functionality for users to enjoy. Finally, the sandbox environment encourages experimentation, inspiring users to try new things and fully explore the limits of your product.

Embed code (paste me!)

Try CodePen.io embedding in Docsie, and take advantage of our native code highlighting feature to help your developer users do more with your docs!

9. Doxygen

A lesser-known tool, but helpful for developers and software documentation writers. Doxygen (not related to Docsie!) automatically creates software documentation by scanning through code and identifying parameters, attributes, comments and more.

An extension for Doxygen is CLion, which enables you to view Doxygen documentation outputs in real-time in the code editing view.

Here is an example exploring the iTunes COM Interface. Supply the source code, and the documentation writes itself!

Try using Doxygen and copy the results into Docsie. Then, you can use our code highlighting plugin and other formatting options!

10. Pixlr E

We've already explored how to capture images with Snagit. What's missing is a powerful way to edit images on desktop and mobile. Adobe Photoshop is powerful, but the hardware requirements and licensing costs limit its use to designers, artists, and creative professionals.

For simpler documentation purposes, consider Pixlr E. This is a web-based product documentation tool with much of Photoshop's functionality, but without the need for installation on a device.

You can add text, lasso and copy pixels, blur, fill with color (using hex values or RGB color wheels), crop, brush, pen, liquify, auto-heal, add or remove layers and much more! Edited images are saved in the cloud ready to be accessed or shared; all you need is a modern browser.

Give Pixlr E a try while taking screenshots! After, you can copy and paste exported images directly into Docsie!

11. JotForm

Docsie already has a feedback form for documentation – Docsie Vocally. This is only for reader feedback on Docsie Books, however, and not for general feedback.

Product documentation tools like JotForm allow you to create dynamic web forms and embed directly in Docsie Books. One example is for knowledge bases, where below each article you could include an IT Service Ticket form.

Integration with ZenDesk means form responses can be automatically loaded into IT service desk ticketing software!

Try adding JotForms to your Docsie Books! Feedback forms are invaluable in pursuit of documentation excellence; you can't fix what you don't know!

Try These Tools in Docsie Today!

Every one of the product documentation tools listed above is compatible with Docsie! We highly recommend that you try these tools in Docsie to maximize your efficiency and productivity!

Start crafting documentation that helps your customers do more. Sign up for our Startup plan (forever free!) and deliver documentation delight with Docsie!


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