Re: [How Much Editing of Graphics Do You Do?]

Subject: Re: [How Much Editing of Graphics Do You Do?]
From: "Nealon, Jessica" <Jessica -dot- Nealon -at- McKesson -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 09:52:47 -0500

It's funny that this topic came up because I was just discussing it with the
other writer here. You see, I am a new tech writer and I write my own
manuals but have also been tasked with maintaining older manuals. This
biggest challenge for me is the graphics. In my docs, I crop the graphics
as much as possible, even removing the toolbar; I doc it once, I don't need
to repeat it in every screen shot. I also alter the "3-D" effects of the
graphic, cropping out the gray border around the top and left edges and the
black lines around the right and bottom edges. Then, I place my own border
around it. The graphics (IMHO) print better and certainly look better in
PDF. It flattens out the graphics, which makes them clearer. I think it's
because it keeps everything 2-D. What works for the software GUIs does not
work for the manual.

When I have to edit the other writer's manual, I have to restrain myself.
She took the whole screen shot (including taskbar at the bottom) and threw
it in. I think it looks terrible because you can't see the important parts
of the window referenced in the instructions. If the window has 2 full
inches of gray space, crop it out so that the user can see the part of the
window with the fields. That gray space serves no purpose. I also crop to
prevent reduction in the document itself. Having to reduce a graphic is
what kills its clarity (in Word. The more you crop, the less you have to
reduce, and the more your users can see. In any case, I need 5 minutes of
affirmations after I update her books where I'm forced (for continuity) to
throw in those horrible full screen shots.


Jessica Nealon
Technical Writer

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