Do you include a sentence identifying the dialog name? (take II)

Subject: Do you include a sentence identifying the dialog name? (take II)
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 12:25:44 -0500

One thing I forgot to mention in my original post: avoid terms such as "the
following dialog box" or "see above" or "in the previous section". Although
these work well and have been used for centuries in print, they translate
poorly (if at all) to online documentation. There's no guarantee where the
screenshot will appear, whether the reader will ever see the previous
screen, and so on. If you have no intention of ever single-sourcing online
and print documentation, this isn't a problem, but few of us can predict
that with any certainty.

Although you can hunt down and excise these references before moving a
document online, doing so adds an additional quality control step to the
production process, and it's easy to miss these references. Thus, if you can
break yourself of the habit of using such phrases, you'll have fewer
problems with online documentation.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

Hofstadter's Law--"The time and effort required to complete a project are
always more than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's

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