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1)Warnings the user must know before use
2)Prerequisite actions/things needed before using
3)How to start it properly
A)The MOST important/commonly-used functions
*)For each, only the essential controls/features
*)For each, the expected results
B)How to save results
4)How to safely shut it off
Step 3B assumes this is a software product, but it
could be valid in modified form in many products.
The *) steps may not have to to be separate steps -
that information could be woven into the actual
procedural steps, as long as you show the user what to
Use illustrations as much as possible and keep the
verbiage to an absolute minimum. For example,
instead of writing "Click on the Start button," put in
a screen cap of the Start button with an arrow
pointing to it, and the words, "Click here."
Keep it as short as possible. Think in terms of a
tri-fold brochure for the amount of real estate you
And of course, exactly what points are covered may
change depending on your audience and the exact nature
of the thing you're documenting. What kind of product
> Hi, I usually just lurk around here, but I have a
> new project for
> which I need some suggestions.
> Normally I write online help and printed manuals.
> I've been asked for
> a 'Quick Start Guide' for one of our products. Does
> anyone have a
> suggestion of where to start? I don't want to put
> *too much* into it,
> but I want to make sure that I hit all of the points
> that should be in
> a quick start. Even a template would be helpful.
> Thanks in advance for any and all help.
> Deb McNally
> Windmill International, Inc
> Technical Writer / Customer Support
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Senior (only) tech writer
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