How to learn new applications without breaking the bank (updated)

It seems like every time you read job descriptions, employers are demanding that you know a different application to be considered for a job with them. You could spend a fortune if you had to buy all of the applications that technical writers use, and once you bought them, there’s no guarantee that you’ll even need to know how to use them to get a job!

A good alternative is to download trial versions of the software technical writers often use and gain some familiarity with it during the trial version. That way, you can legitimately tell future employers, “Yes, I’m familiar with X application.”

Here’s a list of software that technical writers often use with links to download trial versions. If you want me to add other software, please let me know!

Adobe FrameMaker, 2015 Release
Considered to be the “gold standard” for writing technical documentation, FrameMaker, while not as widely used as Microsoft Word, is a good application to review. Click the Free Trial button to download the trial version. Be sure to check out the subscription option.

Adobe InDesign CS5
While some call FrameMaker “Microsoft Word on steroids,” Adobe InDesign is considered to be a pumped-up Pagemaker. It offers a different approach to high-end desktop publishing for technical writers. Click the Free Trial button to download the trial version.

Adobe Acrobat X
As more documentation is put online, many companies want technical writers to be able to use Adobe Acrobat with proficiency. Click the Free Trial button to download the trial version.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5
Many employers are expecting technical writers to have the ability to develop Web sites, and Dreamweaver often is the software they want to use. Click the Free Trial button to download the trial version.

Adobe Robohelp 2015 Release
This is the most well-known Help authoring application on the market. Click the Free Trial button to download the trial version.

Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2010
Visio helps you draw network diagrams and several other kinds of diagrams that are often used in technical documents. You won’t be able to miss the Download Now buttons on this site so you can have a 60-day trial of the software.

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