Re: Questions about a 600 page manual

Subject: Re: Questions about a 600 page manual
From: Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 07:55:57 -0800 (PST)

<Brian is tasked with updating a 600 page manual with
visuals and asked about using Word to do that.>

Since no one yet has addressed whether you should use
visuals, I'll offer my two cents. The Q4 1998 issue of
the STC journal "Technical Communication" had an
article about when/how to use screen captures. The
author suggested three instances:

- to switch the reader's attention
- to develop a mental model of the program
- to verify screen states
- to identify and locate window elements and objects

Those guidelines have helped me immeasurably in the

To the question of using Word, why does the client
want the manual in that particular format? Unless they
plan on editing or revising it (yikes!), I would think
that pdf will suffice. Personally, I wouldn't use Word
for such a large manual. As others have pointed out,
it's very unstable for large documents. Use Frame if
you can, and convert to pdf. And if you must deliver a
Word doc, convert to rtf. And remember, even though
this manual is for only two people right now, plan
ahead with the expectation that more will use it in
the future. (Is that a safe assumption?)

Steven Brown
Senior Technical Writer

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Questions about a 600 page manual: From: Brian Martin

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