TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Some time ago, I asked for advice on creating reference cards. Once again,
techwr-l came through for me with lots of great advice. I am very grateful
to you all for serving as a knowledgeable professionals off whom I can
bounce ideas and problems.
Here's a summary of responses. I've edited liberally for brevity.
These folks recommend laminating paper or card stock:
Sue Stewart (SuePStewrt -at- aol -dot- com)
Margaret Gerard (margaret -at- toshiba -dot- tic -dot- oz -dot- au)
Linda Adler (POWERSOFT/CONCORD/ladler%Powersoft_Corporation -at- mcimail -dot- com)
Dorothy Champlin (champlin -at- kodak -dot- com)
Karen Steele (karen -at- bilbo -dot- suite -dot- com)
Mary Bull (Mary_Bull -at- dayna -dot- com)
Karen pointed out that lamination equipment isn't very expensive. Mary
notes, though, that it's hard to fold a laminated card.
Steve Hollander (holland -at- cvax -dot- ipfw -dot- indiana -dot- edu) recommends:
<snip> white 8.5 x 11" cut sheets of FILM made for laser printers. <snip>
It can't be torn or dog-eared and prints as easily and clearly as paper.
After printing, it can be washed to get rid of spills, grime, etc.
Several of you shared experience printing on card stock.
Ilana Katz (ilana -at- monitor -dot- com) warned:
>I've tried it before and NOT had luck. The copiers and laser printers do not
>take well to shiny thick card stock.
Kay Wicker (kayw -at- spedi -dot- spedi -dot- mn -dot- org) recommended:
>Ask your photocopy vendor to help you and/or run a trial.
Shannon Mayhew (shannon -at- clark -dot- net) said:
>1. Don't use paper with a texture <snip> (The toner will chip off)
>2. The more *tooth* the better. <snip>(Go for uncoated)
>3. Never run Tyvek through your copier! <snip>...it MELTS under the heat
of the copier and will destroy your equipment.
That leads perfectly into Kelly Hoffman's (kelly -at- nashua -dot- hp -dot- com)
recommendation of Tyvek:
>It's wonderful and more than meets the coffee-and-tear-resistant test
>(a local restaurant uses it for their menus, and a printer rep friend
>of mine commented that you can run the stuff through the dishwasher :-).
>I don't know if it works with a photocopier, but it's not overly
>expensive, even in relatively short runs.
In the end, just to get the thing out to the customer, we've decided to
print on 8.5x11 thin card stock, since we have that lying around, and forego
the coffee-and-tear-resistant thing. The card is folded into thirds. Not
what I had in mind, but the customer seems to be happy. In my book, that's
Here's a great story that Margaret Gerard shared with me that I wanted
to pass along.
>When the new bet seller's machine was designed, I designed a
>quick reference card for the keyboard. I talked them into making a slot
>for the card under the keyboard. The card had a tab which protruded
>and the user could pull the tab and the card would slide forward.
>When the user finished reading she just pushed the card back into the slot.
Thanks again, everyone.
jim grey |"Ain't nothin' better in the world, you know
jwg -at- acd4 -dot- acd -dot- com |Than lyin' in the sun, listenin' to the radio" - D. Boone
jimgrey -at- delphi -dot- com|GO/M d p+ c++(-) l u+ e- m*@ s+/ n+ h f++ g- w+@ t+ r- y+(*)
|ACD, Terre Haute, IN -- The Silicon Cornfield