Re: punctuating with electronic commands

Subject: Re: punctuating with electronic commands
From: Debbie Ginsburg <GINSBURG -at- CUA -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1993 18:11:06 -0500

> "To execute this command, type xxx and press return."

> To call attention to the text to type since it is buried in a sentence, do
> you capitalize it? (The system is not cap sensitive.) Do you set it in
> bold or another typeface? How do you handle the name of the return key? We
> use angle brackets and caps to indicate the names of keys, i.e., <RETURN>.

>Michele Berkes

Personally, I've gotten quite ruthless when it comes to giving
commands in the text: I don't allow it. If we are telling the user
what to type, the command is on its own line and in its own font. It
takes up more space, but the extra white space goes a long way in
making a document look less intimidating. For example:

To execute this command, type:

prompt> xxx <return>

The screen will display.....etc.

I use a monospaced font for anything displayed by the computer, and
the same font bolded for anything typed by the user.

Also, I'm using a software package called Keywords (by Logix
Development Corp. FAX 516/736-2209), which works with WordPerfect.
The package is really a series of WP macros, which create beautiful,
little, user-friendly pictures of keycaps, such as return, ctrl,
shift, alt, function keys, letters, numbers, etc. It's WONDERFUL!
There is absolutely no confusion on the user's part that this is
something they should be typing in; they recognize the symbol as a key
on the keyboard which they must press. If anyone's interested, I'll
send you more information about the company. (Not next week, though,
I'm on vacation!) I highly recommend this stuff.

Good luck!
Debbie Ginsburg
ginsburg -at- cua -dot- edu

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