Re: Need another word for "enterable"?

Subject: Re: Need another word for "enterable"?
From: Harry Hager <hhager -at- dttus -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: 29 Mar 2000 07:55:33 -0600

I think I lost the original post for this thread on "enterable," so
I'm joining midstream.

One vital job of a technical writer is to translate the SME techie
words into a language that is understandable to the user. I would not
use "enterable" in user documentation. I probably wouldn't even use it
in systems documentation meant for developers (that's my current
project), but my limited vocabulary didn't include the word
"enterable" until I read the email I'm replying to.

Here's what I do:

A field in which a user can enter data is called a "data entry field."

A field in which the program enters (displays) the data and in which
the user cannot enter data is called a "display-only field."

In the introduction to the book, or somewhere early in the book, I
define these terms.

I typically say something like this:

A display-only field is a field which displays information
generated by the XXX program. You cannot enter or change data in a
display-only field. The background color of display-only fields is
ABC, as shown in the XYZ window. (No "should be," no "will be,"
just "is," assuming, of course, that the developers followed this
standard. If it sometimes color NNN and sometimes color MMM, you
have problems.)

You use data entry fields to enter data into the xxx program
database. The background color of data entry fields is MMM, as
shown in the ABC window.

(This discussion is followed by a screen print of the ABC window
with callouts for Data Entry Fields, Display-Only Fields, and any
other window features I'm explaining at the time.)

This has worked for me and for others I've worked with for a number of

H. Jim Hager
hhager -at- dttus -dot- com

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