Rewriting my procedure

Subject: Rewriting my procedure
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 14:46:20 PDT

Chuck Martin noted that both

"The Line Name dialog box appears to allow you to specify the seismic
line to wish to edit."


"MaxPro displays the Line Name dialog box, which you use to specify the
seismic line you want to edit."

are muddled. I wasn't suggesting that my rewrite was anything more than
an improved version of that one sentence, trying to preserve its sense
and intention as much as possible. Certainly the best course would be
to rewrite the whole procedure; I'll indicate (just to salve my ego)
how I would have done so below.

By the way, even in a situation like this, when I have an uneasy
feeling that hundreds of my fellow tech writers out there may think
that my rewrite of that sentence was my best shot at how the whole
procedure should read, this IS the kind of thing I like to be talking
about on this list. I hope someone else tosses something of theirs into
the pot once this stops bubbling.

Here's how I do it. This procedure would follow a descriptive heading
and a paragraph or two of introductory text. I should note that we use
Helvetica for things like "Enter" and names of menus and picks. Body
text is Palatino.

1. Pick Line Editor>Line Name from the menu bar.

MaxPro displays the Line Name dialog box.

2. Select a seismic line.

3. Press Enter to highlight the line.

4. MaxPro displays the Edit window.

Note that this window is . . .

-- The main point I wanted to make is that I try to keep steps as brief
as possible, so they can be quickly scanned. This means making a
discrete step of virtually every action, while not going overboard. Any
amplifying text I put in an indented comment, so as to keep the step

As far as wish vs. want: If people said "I wish to do that" most of the
time, I'd use "wish." Since most people seem to say "I want to do
that," that's the word I use.

Arthur Comings

Corte Madera, California
atc -at- corte-madera -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com

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