Every company needs to create documents!
Document creation begins the day a company is created on a legal paper. Documents are needed to describe your company through a brochure, you need them to inform customers about offers through pamphlets, you need them to send project proposals, and the list goes on!
In today’s remote working scenario, documents are extremely important. We continually need to create documents, share them with colleagues to collaborate and make decisions. Once decisions have been made, we need more documents to capture the results and improve decision-making!
Creating all these documents can seem like a tedious task, and you might be wondering is there right way to create documents?
This is why we’ve created this article to walk you through the simple dos and don’ts of document creation. Read on for tips to create great documents and we’ve added a tool that can simplify the whole process!
Importance of Document Creation
You’re probably wondering why do you need to care about document creation. Just open up a document, start typing and you’re done!
Is it really that simple though? Will others be able to make sense of your documents? Are you creating documents for your businesses’ end-users? Are your documents interesting enough to make stakeholders want to read it?
While you may be right in thinking, creating a document is easy. The task of creating an engaging document that people want to read beyond the second paragraph is certainly difficult!
It is important to dedicate time to create brilliant documents as everyone stands to benefit from great documents, and here’s why:
1. Reduces organization costs
Document creation can help save organizational costs as it enables planning, budgeting, and reviewing. Once you start to note processes down, it’s easier to track inefficient systems, unproductive employees, repetitive processes thus enabling you to streamline your organization to maximize efficiency.
2. Enables communication
Organizations need to continuously communicate with their employees, shareholders, and partners.
Great documents reflect the organization’s interest in communicating with stakeholders, enabling stakeholders to clearly understand the company and hence could enhance its perceived value.
3. Boosts workplace collaboration
Document creation can make collaborating with people easier as you can easily create a document, share it with your team, and brainstorm ideas to improve it. You can avoid unnecessary long meetings and the time spent sending emails back and forth.
4. Retains company knowledge
If there exist proper processes for document creation, knowledge is not lost due to employee turnover or absence. Effective document management practices enable employees to quickly search and find valuable documents making them more productive.
5. Simplifies learning management
Document management can help to onboard new hires, provide them with knowledge resources required to quickly learn thus saving valuable time and effort. Well-planned training documents can also reduce employee training time.
6. Reduces risks
Any business needs to meet multiple regulations and undergo timely audits. If a process is set for proper document management it would be easier to present necessary documents for inspection thus reducing compliance risks. Patents and trade secrets also require documentation for their filing and defense.
Now that you have realized it is important to have a document creation and management process. Let’s look at certain key points that you ought to keep in mind before you begin document creation.
6 Do’s of Document Creation
1. Use a standard and accessible format
To ensure everyone is able to read your documents, you need to create them in a simple standard format. Stick to applications that create documents in an easily accessible format and some sort of standardization, for example, Bit.ai has themes that help keep brand consistency with fonts, header sizes, etc.
With the increase in mobile usage, ensure your documents are mobile-friendly. Create templates and style guides for your employees to use so that a uniform structure can be followed.
2. Use Correct Formatting
Formatting is a key factor in your document’s overall readability. Try to use small paragraphs with 3-5 sentences in each. Use headings and sub-headings where ever possible.
Use commonly used fonts that are known to increase readability such as Arial, Times New Roman, and Verdana. Try to add bullet points for short sentences and use basic colors to bring in variety. Stick to a white background, readers are used to it and it makes your writing clear.
3. Write for the reader
Think about who you are writing for and write in a manner that would be easy for them to understand. Pay attention to the level of detail, technical terms, jargon, and acronyms used.
Avoid using terms that your end-user might not be familiar with and don’t assume that they will know your short forms. Ensure your documents are logically structured addressing their issues and providing solutions whenever possible.
4. Ensure clarity
In document creation, it’s important to ensure that there isn’t any kind of ambiguity. You ideally want anyone who reads the document to understand it, even if they don’t have any prior experience in the area.
Ensure your documents aren’t too wordy. Explain any technical terms that might be used and mention the full form of any commonly used acronyms. Use short sentences, bullet points, or steps to guide a reader through tough portions. Give examples when possible as this aids reader clarity. If any action is required, clearly spell out what needs to be done.
5. Use images and charts, rich media
The old adage a picture is worth a thousand words stand true to this day. Pictures can greatly enhance a document and make it look lively. You can minimize the text using a picture to illustrate and it also helps to reduce the complexity.
Diagrams, graphs, charts can illustrate your point by showing relationships, comparisons, or changes. You can use a platform like Bit.ai that integrates with over 100+ applications to help you create living digital documents that enhance your document and increase understanding.
6. Keep documents updated
Create and follow standard formats and guidelines to update your documents. Whatever structure and format you choose, make sure that your documents are consistent with the same fonts, format, and overall structure.
Try to link documents so that your reader can go from one document to another seamlessly. Develop a process of easy document management, wherein documents can be updated regularly without losing the structural integrity of it. This way, multiple versions of the document can be retrieved easily, progress can be tracked, and it doesn’t lead to loss of data.
6 Don’ts of Document Creation
1. Don’t start without a structure
Before you begin creating your document, note down a logical structure for it. Look at it as an outline to help you create your document. Think of the reader and his thought process to write down your structure. This step is necessary to enhance reader understanding and set limits on the content you will cover.
2. Don’t overdo the colors
Colors look great on a document and can enhance readers’ interest but if done incorrectly it can be counterproductive. If a brand color palette has been set, stick to it.
If you want to experiment make sure you choose appropriate colors, not too dark nor too loud, which could distract the reader.
Limit the number of colors to 2 – 4 colors or shades. Don’t use bright background colors that will strain your audience’s eyes – no one wants to see the red text on a bright yellow background!
3. Avoid static content
We are in a digital age, large amounts of documents are created on a daily basis and we are increasingly exposed to dynamic content such as GIFs, videos.
Create dynamic content by incorporating different and compatible rich media into your documents. There exists an array of different content mediums and applications to bring the content in your documents alive and make them interactive.
4. Avoid repetitive content
It is important to avoid duplicating data in your document, this makes it boring and confusing. Make sure your structure is clear so you don’t have to repeat the same information in multiple places. Set a process to update the document whenever needed without overloading it.
5. Don’t forget document size
Often we add large images to our documents and then cant shares it over emails. Think of the target audience for your document and how they would most likely read it, accordingly decide the extent of media you want to add to it. Don’t forget to compress any images or graphics to ensure your documents are easily shareable.
6. Don’t forget your punctuation and grammar
The use of full stops and commas is often overlooked as messages get shorter and communication is more frequent. A never-ending sentence could get confusing for your document and reduces the readability. Spend time to edit your documents and use free online tools to help spell-check them.
You have probably concluded that document creation is no piece of cake! Relax though, we have an easy tool to help you take care of the above points. Read on to find out about our document creation hack.
Bit.ai: The Ultimate Document Creation Software
Bit is a new-age cloud-based document collaboration tool that helps teams create, manage, and track documents.
Bit helps you make sure your documents are more than just plain boring text. Thus, apart from allowing multiple users to collaborate on documents, Bit also allows users to share any sort of rich media like YouTube videos, SoundCloud Playlists, Google Docs, One Drive Excel Spreadsheets, GIFs, Tweets, Pinterest boards, etc. Basically, anything on the internet with a link can be shared and Bit will automatically turn it into visual content.
Bit has a very minimal design aesthetic to it, but it’s feature-rich and helps teams rethink the way they work.
It even includes an ability for users to track engagement levels on the documents they share. Users are able to see who has accessed their document, how frequently, how much time they spent on it, how often they have returned to it, and how far through the document they scrolled, along with other great engagement metrics.
Here are some unique features Bit provides:
- Smart workspaces are created around projects, teams, departments, and clients to keep your documents organized. Workspaces make it easy to collaborate and ensure that the right team members have access to the right documents.
- Create professional-looking docs quickly with Bit’s pre-made themes and templates.
- Easy customization– just highlight the text and Bit give you the ability to bold/italicize text, create a checklist, numbered list, add quotations, and headings for better understanding.
- Bit allows various file types to be added to your documents. No more hunting through email attachments to find the right document.
- Bit documents are fully responsive and can be accessed on any device.
- Bit documents can be used for both internal and external use documents.
- Bit has a content library that you can save images, files, and digital content you need to add to your documents so that you can access and reuse them easily.
- Smart search allows anyone to search and find any files, images, documents quickly and easily across all of their workspaces.
- The ability to tag and comment on a shared document allows team members to collaborate and work together effectively.
- Automated table of contents created based on your header 1, header 2, and header 3 usages on your document.
- Shared documents come with the option to include a lead capture form. In order for your recipients to access the documents, you can require they fill out their name, company, email, and/or phone number.
- Shared Bit documents offer document destruction and allow users to remove access to a trackable document by a specific date.
- Users can also make their documents password protected.
- All settings of a trackable document can be edited at any time and update in real-time with your audience.
- Includes personalized branding on your documents
Good document creation practices are vital for any business to thrive. You use multiple types of documents on a daily basis and they are an integral part of business life. They enable organizations to function smoothly, employees to work together and customers to understand you.
Hopefully, this document has helped you feel confident about creating your own documents. Save this document or share it with your colleagues so that you can help everyone to create great documents.
Bit.ai is the essential next-gen workplace and document collaboration platform. that helps teams share knowledge by connecting any type of digital content. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, anyone can work visually and collaborate in real-time while creating internal notes, team projects, knowledge bases, client-facing content, and more.
The smartest online Google Docs and Word alternative, Bit.ai is used in over 100 countries by professionals everywhere, from IT teams creating internal documentation and knowledge bases, to sales and marketing teams sharing client materials and client portals.