Re: using notes

Subject: Re: using notes
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 08:24:20 EST

> My department is currently reevaluating how we use notes in our manuals.
> Cautions and warnings seem to have clear guidelines, because of their legal
> ramifications and evolution out of the Mil Spec and standards worlds. Using
> notes seems to be less well-defined for style and usage. How do you use
> notes? What are their purpose? How many are too many?

Tom Little provided a very good answer to this questions, I'd just like to add
a bit more. I've also worked under a standard that insisted "no procedural
information" should be in a note. In other words, you could (in theory) delete
the note from the procedure, and all of the information you need is still
there on the page.

Examples (not great ones, but it's eary yet):


1. Turn off power.
2. Remove cover plate.
NOTE: Press the red button to release latches.
3. Remove the valve.


1. Turn off power.
2. Remove cover plate.
NOTE: The latch release button is colored red.
3. Press the latch release button.
4. Remove the valve.

Another thought, to expand on Tom's idea, is to put definitions somewhere in
the front of the manual to clearly define the purpose of a WARNING, CAUTION,
and NOTE (or whatever you decide to use).

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com

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