Manuals available for downloading from Website?

Subject: Manuals available for downloading from Website?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, "'Eadaoin O'Donnell'" <ead_ciara -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 08:22:17 -0400

Eadaoin O'Donnell has <<... created an Administrators Manual for an online
application. I want to make this manual available for downloading from the
website. What is my best option, create a PDF and make this available on the

The "best" choice depends on the answer to two questions: Will the document
be read online, or printed? Is formatting comparable in importance to
content? If printing and format are important, go for PDF; if it'll be used
online and thus can be reformatted on the fly (text wrap), go with HTML.
That's simplistic, because your audience may prefer _both_ options and
because other factors can affect your decision, but it gives you a good
first cut at a choice.

<<What is the maximum size file that I should put up? What is a reasonable
file size?>>

The smallest file you can create and still retain a usable file is the
maximum size; that is, make it as small as possible without damaging
usability. If the file is really big, split it up into chapters or sections
so that users can download only a single chapter at a time if they don't
need the entire book at once--and provide a really good description of the
chapters so that people know which one to download. If it's really big,
consider putting it on CD and providing it out free or for a nominal
shipping charge if customers ask for it this way.

<<Also, I have created the file in word. I have a graphic, its a bmp, which
I want to cover the entire front page... I need it to cover the entire page
and not leave a margin of white at the edge.>>

If you'll only use the document online, all you need to do is size the
graphic to fit the page (i.e., to 8.5x11 or A4 or whatever size you're
using). If you're planning to print it from the downloadable file, you're
out of luck. Very few printers can print right to all four edges of a piece
of paper; most require at least an eighth of an inch margin that they use to
grab and feed the paper. The only way to print to the edge in such cases is
to use a larger paper size, then trim to fit.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Hart's law of gravitation: Deadlines are the documentation equivalent of
black holes: the closer the deadline approaches, the harder it becomes to
escape its pull, and the faster events accelerate in their rush towards the
deadline; at the technical communication equivalent of an "event horizon",
nothing escapes that pull. And the closer you approach a deadline, the
faster things are moving and the less time everyone has to react
appropriately."--Geoff Hart

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