Keith Soltys

After a series of sales and office jobs, Keith Soltys discovered technical writing in 1987 and never looked back. He currently works at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Keith lives in Pickering, Ontario with his wife, two children, a cat, and a large collection of science fiction and Grateful Dead music. You can read his blog, Core Dump 2.0 at

Lightweight DITA

Lightweight DITA: a Preview from Michael Priestley

A new buzzword has appeared in the worlds of structured authoring and content reuse--Lightweight DITA. On November 28, Michael Priestley, one of the lead DITA architects and a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM, gave a presentation to the Toronto Chapter of the STC about Lightweight DITA and how IBM has used DITA as a key part of a 60-million-page knowledge center. Continue reading ...

top 12 technical communication articles 2

Building E-Books: A Tool Overview for Technical Writers

As e-books become another option for publishing technical content, writers are faced with more choices among the tools to produce them. In my previous articles on e-book readers and formats, I noted the similarities between e-book formats and the online help formats that technical writers have been using for many years. In this article, I’ll look at some of the tools you can use to create EPUB books, the most common e-book format. I’ll also show how you can convert an EPUB to Amazon’s Kindle format. Continue reading ...


The EBook Publishing – Technical Communication Mutual Learning Opportunity

During WritersUA, TechWhirl's Keith Soltys sat down with Joshua Tallent, founder of eBook Architects to discuss the present and future of eBooks, the state of the technology, and how much technical communications and eBook trade publishing can learn from each other to produce good, readable, accessible content. Continue reading ...


EPUB and eBooks: Formats, Setup, Production Workflows and Foreign Language Text Lessons from WritersUA

eBooks are a hot topic for technical writers and user assistance professionals right now, and WritersUA 2012 featured three sessions about eBooks and electronic publishing: EPUB: Putting It All Together, by Scott Prentice; eBook Production Workflows, by Joshua Tallent; and The Current State of Foreign Language Text in eBooks, also by Joshua Tallent Continue reading ...


Session Summaries: HTML5 and CSS3 to the Point and User Annotations with HTML5

By now, most writers know that both HTML and CSS have been updated with new standards. However, browser and tool vendors are just now beginning to support them. At WritersUA, Scott DeLoach and Dave Gash each gave presentations that covered aspects of the new technology that impact user assistance and thoughts on how we’ll be dealing with it in the coming year. Continue reading ...

Technical Writing Tips and Tricks

Technical Writer Tips and Tricks: PDF and Online Help Documentation Translation

Over the past few years, I’ve had to manage the translation into French of user guides and online help for TSX SecureFile. The documentation consists of PDF user’s and administrator’s guides produced using unstructured Adobe FrameMaker, and web-based online help produced using Quadralay’s WebWorks ePublisher. This article is based on a relatively simple scenario – a lone technical writer with a small number of manuals being translated into one language. Continue reading ...


E-Book Formats

Most technical writers understand online help formats and have worked with at least one over the years. Help file format have evolved from man pages (manual pages in UNIX in the early 1970’s) and HLP files through CHM files and the plethora of HTML-based formats that we have now. E-Book formats are similar in many respects to the common online help formats, but with one crucial difference; they’re designed to work on the small screens of today’s e-readers and tablets. Continue reading ...