Re: Quick Reference Rules

Subject: Re: Quick Reference Rules
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 08:17:49 +1100

Are there special rules for Quick Reference
materials as opposed to standard procedures?

I suppose there might be, since brevity
is of the essence. For quick-references,
I would try to use pictures rather than
words whenever possible. Instead of full
procedural format ("From the File menu,
choose Save") I would use a graphical
shortcut -- for example, "File > Save",
or, when appropriate, a button image.

>>Press <Ctrl + D>?

Yes, this is is correct for keyboard
actions. I don't think there would be any
loss of clarity by omitting the <> brackets,
especially if you use a special type style
(bold, for example) for the key caps.
Alternatively, your could just show the
key caps graphically and omit the word

>> Click [Next] or Click Next?

Both work okay, but again, I don't think the
brackets add anything. You could also
show the button image rather than the word.

>> Select Create New (text link)

Microsoft's style manual recommends reserving
"select" for things like option switches. For
buttons the verb is "click" or, for menu commands,

Also, I don't think the brackets help. If you
are trying to show a menu path, consider
one of these conventions--but you need to
explain the convention somewhere:

Choose Create New > Text Link.

Choose Create New | Text Link

Use boldface for the menu commands, and
make sure to use the exact literals, including
the exact capitalization used in the interface.

>> (menu) Select Tools > Options > ? or
>> Select Tools, Options, ? or
>> Select Tools/Options/? ???

Again, I think the more common convention is to use
the > or the | marks as separators to indicate
menu paths. Whichever you choose, explain the
convention in a prominent place before you use it.

Mike W

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Quick Reference Rules: From: nutboy

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