Re: Bonnie's comments on indexes

Subject: Re: Bonnie's comments on indexes
From: Chuck Martin <techwriter -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 1994 11:04:15 PST

It seems to me that in your alphabetical reference (I had the same thing
for version 1.0 of Word for Windows), you're performing the same tasks
you would be in an index. You want to find a term, you look where you
think it should be, you try other terms, until hopefully you find what
you want.

In many ways, I liked the alphabetical reference rather than the task-
oriented User's Guide, in part because I could find what I wanted using
the same search algorithm I would in an index. Only in this case, when
I found what I wanted, I didn't have to turn to one more page. It helped
that the entries were well cross referenced. For example, if I looked
in the "B" section for "bold type," I'd have a pointer to "Character

If I had my druthers, I'd have both. I'd be sitting down and reading
sections of my User's Guide, plus using it when I wanted to perform some
unfamiliar tasks. I'd use a Reference when I wanted specific information
about a function. Of course, with the software industry becomeing more
competitive, and software prices coming down, the trend is to fewer books,
not more. :(

Chuck Martin
InvoDev, IBM
techwriter -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com

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