RE: Mine, mine....ALL mine!

Subject: RE: Mine, mine....ALL mine!
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2008 21:00:35 +1100

> I would really take something like "Users Guide." "Manual" sounds too
> ponderous, like manual labor. I like the word "guide."
> I like to think my instructions are guiding all users who need a hand,
> hence "Users Guide."

There's an amusing kind of irony there, because "manual" comes from the
Latin word for hand. "Manual" means handbook.
In English usage, it has come to mean something rather more comprehensive
than a "guide", but less so than an encyclopaedia.

I like the following:

"Installation Instructions"
"Instructions for Use"
"Getting Started with <product name>"
"Quick Reference Guide."
"How to <do something>"
"Using <product name>"

I would reserve "manual" (were it my prerogative, though it seldom is) for
something more comprehensive than a set of instructions; something that goes
into engineering details.

With an automobile one generally gets an "Owner's Guide." I like that. It
means "Look in this booklet to find out what you -- the owner -- need to
know." That's all. Nothing more.

But in real life the titles of the publications we design, write and edit
are usually decided for us by the people whose job it is to sell the
product. If the competition has a "User's Guide", then I'll end up writing a
"User's Guide" because that's what I've been hired to do. Boring, innit?

Mike West
Melbourne, Australia


ComponentOne Doc-To-Help gives you everything you need to author and
publish quality Help, Web, and print content. Perfect for technical
authors, developers, and policy writers. Download a FREE trial.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Mine, mine....ALL mine!
Next by Author: Re: injecting a little whimsy into grey text
Previous by Thread: RE: Mine, mine....ALL mine!
Next by Thread: Font fondling - a practical application

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads