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Subject:Re: Readers who don't read From:Carol Linden <linden -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 2 Apr 1993 17:29:29 -0500
In response to Eric's question and Laurel's response:
Yes, getting users to read instructions is a problem we deal with
at the software company where I work, too. You're not alone in that,
though that may not make it any less frustrating.
At SAS, we use the convention that Laurel mentioned: put the literal
command on a separate line and indent:
To copy this file, use the COPY command:
copy catalog1.file catalog2.file
Then open CATALOG2 . . .
We also use different fonts for references within text. We still
use capitalization for keywords in text (as in "COPY command" in
above example), but that is not as solid a method as before since
our software now runs on operating systems that are case sensitive.
I agree with Laurel that it helps to keep explanations and literals
separate. I used tables to explain things like "d" for "delete":
d delete a catalog entry
r rename a catalog entry
b browse a catalog entry
Then show only what they literally type in in the how-to material.
I hope this is clear. It is late on Friday. Have a good weekend
and happy writing.