Re: writing for online and paper

Subject: Re: writing for online and paper
From: Jonathan Lavigne <jpl -at- LYRA -dot- STANFORD -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 04:22:08 GMT

techwriter -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com writes:


>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

I've been using Doc-to-Help in conjunction with Ventura Publisher and I find
the combination makes it very easy to generate a manual from my help text. My
approach to structuring printed documentation has been influenced by the
recommendations of Edmond Weiss and John Carroll. Both lean toward
self-contained, modular units -- very much like help topics, in fact.
All I needed to do was put in frame anchors for illustrations and a few tags
for page breaks to make a help file into a Ventura manual. It took me about a
day to add the necessary tags, which Doc-to-Help lets me hide for the on-line
help. I also did a macro to add Ventura tags for various Word styles like
headings and bullets. Once that was setup, I could work on the help text only
and format it for the manual in a few minutes.
Jonathan Lavigne BL -dot- JPL -at- RLG -dot- STANFORD -dot- EDU
Research Libraries Group/Stanford University

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