Monday, December 21, 2009

Educational Wordiness

Is it ironic education programs throughout the country try to teach kids from the earliest age how to be effective writers. Then education destroys what they teach by assigning a page requirement for papers. Yes, I understand if it wasn’t for the page requirement some kids would only write half a page. It does serve a purpose, but it pollutes the greater purpose—better writing.

The more I read, the more I realize people learn bad writing skills working to meet page length requirements. You can have a brilliant paper written in seven pages that meets are requirements of the assignment except that it is three pages short. The paper soon collects filler as writers begin looking for ways to add three pages to the paper. Words like ‘during’ become ‘throughout the time period.’ The content begins to suffer thanks to wordiness.

The problem is, writers become so conditioned to writing for length that it carries over to their professional writing. I look over many reports every week, and I see three and four word phrases for what could simply be replaced with a single word. I have to think the education system is partially to blame. Perhaps educators should focus on content and not length by enforcing expectations and creating goals for the paper that go beyond it needs to be ten pages.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How to Embed a PDF into Your Web Pages

Technical writers use many different software programs and files types. Sometimes they integrate and sometimes they don’t. As someone who creates Web sites and writes white papers, I often need to post the white paper on the Internet.

Converting a white paper to HTML often creates formatting issues, and creating a hyperlink to the PDF means they are going to leave your Web site for all practical purposes. If they leave your Web site, you could be losing a new client.

I like to embed PDFs into the Web site’s HTML, and it’s simple to do. All it takes is the following code:


Simply adjust the width and height values so it fits neatly into your Web page. Of course, you will need to change the PDF file name from MyDocument to the name of your PDF.

You can also use the ‘embed’ tag to embed the PDF: