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Uh, I was addressing the original question of how to grammatically introduce a serious of steps, not how to structure a help topic overall.
But since you asked, no, I don't put prerequisites in steps. These days it seems like prerequisites, the actual steps, and next steps are spelled out explicitly in the structure of the topic itself with headings and jump links, something like this:
FLIBBERING THE FOOBAR
+ Before You Start
Greasing the Gobsmack
Macking the Macaroon
+ Where to Go From Here
Noodling the Nightengale
On Oct 18, 2011, at 7:27 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin wrote:
> Laura Lemay wrote.
>> personal preference these days in the absence of a style guide is to
>> remove as much introductory text as possible, because people just don't
>> read it.
> So if there are a several prerequisites, you make them
> steps 1 through 4, before step 5 gets to the meat of the
> current procedure?
> Assuming a Help page/topic, and not a linear manual, how
> do you know the person arriving at your un-introduced
> instructions has been through any previous procedures,
> or has brought necessary objects or information to
> the current set of steps?
> - kevin
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