Re: context-sensitive help and the printed manual

Subject: Re: context-sensitive help and the printed manual
From: "Michele Marques" <mmarques -at- cms400 -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 12:07:32 -0400

Alison Tartt <akt -at- att -dot- net> writes that she has a procedural manual and
is now being asked to develop screen-based help for context-sensitive
help on each dialog box. I believe that she would like to use this
information in her printed manuals, but is not sure where to put this
information, especially as one dialog box may be applicable to multiple
procedures (and I assume the inverse is also true!).

This is only a suggestion, based on the assumption that you really do
want both types of information in the same document. How about you
have two parts to the manual? The first part is the procedural manual
(perhaps called the "user guide") while the second part is a reference
manual of screens/dialog boxes (perhaps called the "reference manual"
or "reference appendix").

In the procedural portion, whenever you refer to one of the dialog boxes
or screens, you can have a cross reference (e.g., See "doodad dialog
box" on page App-23) pointing to the help on that dialog box or screen.
In the help on the dialog boxes you can also include a cross-reference
back to the relevant procedures. For example: You will access this
dialog box when creating an order (see page 43) and when updating
customer records (see page 17).

Michele Marques
Lead Technical Communicator, CMS Manufacturing Systems
mmarques -at- cms400 -dot- com
905-477-4499 x280

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