Documentation

7 Technical Documentation Tools to Strengthen Your Team 

Build product ambassadors by giving your employees and customers everything they need to understand and LOVE your product. Here's a list of top-tier technical documentation tools that make support a breeze.

Introduction

Let’s be honest: technical documentation can be downright boring. It’s often complex, time-consuming, and hard to get right — but that doesn’t mean tech companies can just skip past it. 

Technical documentation (and the process of writing it) might feel like a waste of time and resources. But actually, it’s a saving grace when tech companies and teams hit roadblocks or unforeseen challenges. 

However, for technical documents to be useful, they need to be written correctly, accessible to all appropriate team members and organized in a way that makes sense for readers. 

A technical documentation tool can help streamline creation while ensuring everyone who needs to access your technical documents can do so quickly and easily. 

Check out these technical documentation tools

  1. Scribe
  2. Confluence
  3. Bit.ai
  4. Document360
  5. Whatfix
  6. Nuclino
  7. GitBook
  8. Adobe FrameMaker

What is technical documentation, & why is it important?

Technical documentation is the process of writing, storing, sharing and referencing information about a piece of technology to a new or non-expert user. It includes:

  • Knowledge base articles.
  • Help desk and FAQ pages.
  • Training manuals & instructions.
  • Policy Documents.

And more (we’ll dive into some more specific examples a little later on). 

Technical documentation helps educate users on how to use and get the most out of their tech. It keeps them informed of updates, encourages them to try using the technology in new ways or trains them to ensure they’re using the tools safely and appropriately. 

In some cases (such as when working with machinery), solid technical documentation keeps users safe. But it’s still vital in low-stakes environments, like with software or digital platforms. 

Basically, technical documentation gives employees and customers the materials and resources they need to succeed. 

Examples of technical documentation

Technical documentation can come in a few different forms, but here are some common types of technical content. 

  • User guides. User guides explain how a product works. They typically support user onboarding but also help troubleshoot problems and highlight new features. 
  • Product manuals. Product manuals give a high-level overview of a product. They explain features and uses. You mostly need product manuals for physical products but can also create them for software and digital platforms. 
  • Source code documentation. Source code documentation outlines and explains code and code structure to developers. This makes it easier for developers to adjust or troubleshoot issues when necessary. 
  • API documentation. API documents outline what your API can accomplish to let developers know if your software is right for them. It tells API parameters and outlines how the API works. 
  • Knowledge base materials. A knowledge base is a library of frequently asked questions or resources that users and employees can access on their own to answer questions or get additional information on a specific topic. Knowledge base content can cover everything from how to use a product to troubleshooting issues. 

What is a technical documentation tool?

A technical documentation tool makes documenting, storing and sharing technical content easier. The right tool can: 

  • Make it easy to adjust, update or change content to reflect evolving software. 
  • Store and organize the version history of each document so you can easily refer back to past content. 
  • Control sharing and accessibility so you can use one tool for all readers and users. 
  • Link all related content so users can quickly move from one topic to the next. 
  • Create content that is easy to read and reflects the company brand. 
  • Offer different features, including video or audio, to create technical documents that are comprehensive and easy to understand.
  • Provide accessibility to users on mobile devices and while offline. 

Top technical documentation tools to boost your team’s performance

1. Scribe 

G2 Rating: 4.9/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 5/5 stars

Scribe Pricing: Free plans available

Scribe Features: 

Scribe shines as a technical documentation tool that makes it easy to document processes and instructions.

Just click the Scribe recorder, follow through your process as you normally would and turn off the recorder when you’re done. Scribe will then automatically generate a step-by-step guide with screenshots, instructions and click indicators.

 If you need to make adjustments, additions or want to include context, use the editor to customize your guide. When your document is complete, share it with a URL, as a PDF or embed it into another tool

As a technical documentation tool, Scribe can make complex processes or workflows easy to follow and understand. Because a technical document is so easy to create with Scribe, teams are empowered to keep content up to date while ensuring everyone has access to the information and resources they need to use their tech effectively. 

2. Confluence 

G2 Rating: 4.1/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 4.4/5 stars

Confluence Pricing: Starting at $10/user/month

Confluence Features: 

Confluence is a centralized knowledge base that provides self-service resources for organizations and teams, keeping all technical documentation in one place. Templates and built-in best practices make it easy to keep documents consistent while ensuring you check all your necessary boxes. 

Confluence works exceptionally well for technical documentation because it’s made by Atlassian, the same brand behind Jira. Syncing your documents with your Jira support tickets can help developers quickly and easily access the relevant technical information to solve issues faster and work more productively. 

3. Bit.ai 

G2 Rating: 4.2/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 5/5 stars

Bit.ai Pricing: $12/user/month

Bit.ai Features: 

Bit makes creating interactive documents with your team easy. A minimalistic smart editor makes collaboration accessible regardless of your team's location or experience level with creating technical documents. 

Easily collect feedback or insights from engineers, developers, administrators and other subject matter experts that know your technology best. 

Bit.ai lets you add other forms of content to your documents, including rich media, videos, graphics and even surveys. 

Add integrations to social content, cloud files, maps, prototypes and more so you can build your documents to be as comprehensive and detailed as necessary. Bit.ai also has built-in analytics and document tracking to gain real-time insights to see what pages teammates view most often, how long viewers spend on a page and more. 

4. Document360

G2 Rating: 4.7/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 4.7/5 stars

Document360 Pricing: Free plans available

Document360 Features: 

Document360 is a knowledge base platform that creates simple self-service platforms for companies and their customers, allowing users to create and customize content like white papers, manuals, memos, product descriptions and more. 

Their dual view page builder lets you input content while automatically viewing how the published page will look, reducing the need for coders or designers to build your technical documentation pages. 

Choose the pages you want to share privately with your team or publicly with customers, giving all parties the information they need without you needing to worry about content falling into the wrong hands. 

The ability to create internal and external technical document databases in one tool makes it easy to manage your content and ensure everything is accurate and up to date. 

4. Whatfix

G2 Rating: 4.6/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars

Whatfix Pricing: Custom quote

Whatfix Features: 

Whatfix is a digital adoption platform that sits on top of your software to walk users through how to use the technology. It puts the information and instructions in front of users right when they need it. 

Users learn how to use the software as they engage with it, creating a productive and efficient process in-platform.

Whatfix can also help eliminate frustration with learning or adjusting to new or updated technology, reducing employee or customer onboarding costs. Customers and team members learn how to appropriately use your software as they go, creating happier relationships and building stronger connections. 

5. Nuclino

G2 Rating: 4.7/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars

Nuclino Pricing: Free plans available

Nuclino Features: 

Nuclino acts as a “collective brain” for teams to store and organize knowledge, docs, projects and ideas.

 It’s an internally focused documentation tool that makes it easy to present content in a variety of formats, including nested lists, Kanban boards and mindmap graphs. Users can collaborate on projects and documents to provide insights, ideas and extra detail within the platform.  

Nuclino is a low-weight tool that focuses on eliminating friction during the technical documentation process. Edit with Markdown commands for fast formatting and organize your documents with internal links and tagging so all relevant information pairs together. 

6. GitBook

G2 Rating: 4.6/5 stars

Capterra Rating: 4.5/5 stars

GitBook Pricing: Free

GitBook Features: 

GitBook is a knowledge management tool specifically designed for software teams. It links seamlessly with GitHub, allowing you to automatically pull markdown files and add them to your documents.

You can use GitBook for both internal and external technical document sharing, keeping all your information and files in one place. 

Although GitBook doesn’t have many collaboration features that other tools on this list have, it’s proximity to GitHub can make it an easy choice for developer-heavy teams already familiar with the platform. 

7. Adobe FrameMaker 

G2 Rating: 4.1/5 stars

Capterra Rating: n/a

Adobe FrameMaker Pricing: Custom Quote

Adobe FrameMaker Features: 

Adobe FrameMaker is designed specifically for creating and publishing complex technical content. Adobe FrameMaker is more robust and feature-rich than some other tools on this list, helping you create long-form, immersive content with online videos, images and more. It requires a bit of a higher learning curve than some other tools, but it's worth the extra effort for teams needing to constantly churn out high-quality technical content. 

Adobe FrameMaker helps standardize your documentation process while giving you the freedom to create great content and documents that help educate and inform your audience. 

FrameMaker also lets you maintain popular industry standards — ensuring your technical content meets audience expectations. FrameMaker is a great tool for teams that create both digital and physical technical documents. 

Choosing a technical documentation tool for your team 

On the surface, technical documentation tools all seem to do more or less the same job. They help you capture and share technical information with your team and customers — but while the goal behind each tool might be similar, understanding how they execute that promise is crucial for choosing the right tool for your team. 

Before you select a technical documentation tool, consider the following: 

  • Who is your audience? Are you creating content for an internal or external audience or both? The selected platform should have permissions that align with your audiences’ needs. 
  • Who is creating technical content? Do you have experienced technical writers on staff, or will it be a collaborative effort? If multiple team members need to contribute to your technical documentation process, you should choose a tool that makes it easy to communicate and share ideas. 
  • What format will your technical content take? Will your technical documents primarily live online, or will you need to create physical documents? Most of the tools on this list focus on digital copies, so if you also need physical pieces, choose a tool that makes creating and printing content easy. 

The tool you select should make creating technical documents easier, not more complicated. Try out a few different tools and see which appeal to you and your team the most.