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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.
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.
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