Re: writing for online and paper

Subject: Re: writing for online and paper
From: Chuck Martin <techwriter -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 08:40:20 PDT


You asked about how to go about both. You look like you've already
begun in a good direction.

If you start out writing for online--nicely chunked, task-oriented
pieces of information--that you can almost use that same information
as-is for any paper documentation you might want. (Thank you William
Horton for that guideline.) A lot fo the ways you would want to
present information online also work well in print, such as short
procedures, bulleted lists, and plenty of white space.

There are also tools available that will allow you to single-source
(jargon alert!). One of the best known and more robust, at least for
Windows, is Doc-To-Help, a program that allows you to mark text for
Help only, print only, and both Help and print. So many Help development
tools are pouring on the market now though, that you may want to
investigate others.

If it's a reasonable request, you may want to suggest to your
customers that they simply print out the Help topics. However, I'm not
sure that's often a reasonable solution.

Chuck Martin
Information Developer, IBM
techwriter -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com

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