Technical editing is copyediting and more.

Technical materials are everywhere: user manuals, software and database documentation, online instructions and FAQs, training materials, etc. It goes without saying that all technical writing should receive a thorough copyediting and proofreading before it is published. However, technical editing requires more than attention to phrasing, grammar, spelling, consistency, and style.

A technical editor approaches copyediting from the point of view of the target reader, who often has limited knowledge of the subject. The writer—whether a technical writer, instructional designer, or subject matter expert—knows far too much by the end of the writing process to take on this point of view. On the other hand, comfort with technical materials is necessary in order to anticipate the reader's needs and know how to meet them.

Technical editing requires close attention to the smallest details. Have terms and acronyms been introduced? Are instructions clear and presented consistently? Is anything assumed that should be made explicit? Are there places where the reader would benefit from a different presentation? Most important, do instructions work? If not, have steps been left out; are icons, buttons, or text links not as described; are resources missing or difficult to locate?

I start technical editing by becoming familar with the product. This is typically a matter of exploring a website or an online application. Then I begin to copyedit, making revisions and noting any technical problems. If information is missing, I obtain it and write additional text.