It’s typically clearer, more direct, and easier to read than passive voice. And it’s almost always shorter.

Do

Quickly categorize your transactions.

Don't

Your transactions can quickly be categorized.

Every now and again, it’ll sound better to put the focus on an object and omit the thing doing the action. This is the rare exception when passive voice is OK.

Do

Changes saved.

Don't

The system saved your changes.

Feeling lost? Here’s the deal: With active voice, the subject performs the action of the verb, usually on an object. (Think: she designed the screen.) With passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb. (Think: the screen was designed by her.) Passive sentences are longer than active ones because they usually need a helping verb like “is” or “was” to make sense. Passive voice is the hallmark of bureaucratic jargon, evasion, and skirting responsibility. Don’t use it.

Do

A chart of accounts lists all your tax categories.
The team conducted usability tests with customers.
We made mistakes in the weeks before launch.
 

Don't

All your tax categories are listed in the chart of accounts.
Usability tests with customers were conducted by the team.
Mistakes were made in the weeks before launch.