RE: Lead-in to software documentation?

Subject: RE: Lead-in to software documentation?
From: "David Chinell" <dchinell -at- msn -dot- com>
To: "'Gunther Schmidt'" <g -dot- schmidt -at- bigfoot -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 09:21:32 -0400


I work in a documentation department of seven
writers. We use the Microsoft Style Guide and the
Chicago Manual of Style. I wanted to make two

First, these are not too difficult for a novice.
They are reference books, and you can take a much or
as little from them as you want. Both are easy to
use. Any manual you can get in an online or help
file format is doubly helpful, because you can
search for the terms you're interested in. The MS
guide is great for tips on documenting a GUI.

Second, no matter which other guides you use, create
your own style guide. Use this to record the style
decisions you make that aren't covered by the other
guides (spellings, casing, special definitions,

Our department style guide also spells out which
guides we use and their hierarchy. That is, we
specify which guide wins in case of conflicts. This
helps resolve tons of problems with over-zealous


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