Re: Poll: Provide documentation in PDF & Help formats, or only in Help formats?

Subject: Re: Poll: Provide documentation in PDF & Help formats, or only in Help formats?
From: "Pro TechWriter" <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Lin Sims" <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 15:49:00 -0500

On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 12:33 PM, Lin Sims <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Possibly Pertinent Info: my new company creates software.
> My new boss came into my area right before lunch asking whether it was
> really necessary to provide any of our product documentation in PDF
> formats. Yes, he meant the Installation/Deployment and Administration
> documents as well as the user documents.
> Apparently, his concern lies with how long it takes to design the PDF
> output to look good. He's also convinced that none of the major
> software providers are providing their customers with PDFs of
> anything. His thought is that users who want printed documents can
> just print out the help files.
> Just had this conversation today, where a new PM asked me about this, and
stated quite strongly that our customers also need and want a PDF of at
least installation and configuration information, and also release notes, in
addition to the online help.

With single-sourcing, as we do here (and I work for an enterprise-level
software company as well), we can provide this quite easily. And we do,
especially for documentation that is required to install and configure

You can't look something up in the help, if the help (and application) have
not been installed yet!

Getting the formatting right for the PDF is pretty much a one-time task, so
that shouldn't be too hard. Look into it. Maybe it will take much less time
than your supervisor thinks it does (and ask him for his estimate).

There are still companies out there who only provide PDFs as their product
documenation, even when they are accessed from the Help link in the

Good Luck!

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Poll: Provide documentation in PDF & Help formats, or only in Help formats?: From: Lin Sims

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