Re: Using Font Types

Subject: Re: Using Font Types
From: David Jones/KSBEISD <David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- DATAHUB -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 08:24:45 HST

>>I would like to get feedback on how you are using typographic
conventions in documentation for software applications.

Recently, I picked up a copy of _The Microsoft Manual of Style for
Technical Publications_ and I have found some excellent standards set
there. One I have a problem with is the suggested typographic
convention for key names. They say to use small caps. This looks great
for the user guide, but comiles to small, crude text in the help
system. Another possibility is to not change the font, but always
include "button" after the name (as in "Click the Done button.")<<
For hardcopy, we use a typeface called Keystroke that came with CorelDraw.
It provides a full set of "key-cap like" characters for keys like the Enter
key, Page Up, Page Dn, Tab, etc. There are similar PS typefaces available for
those who prefer PS.
The only online help we do is for mainframe-based apps; text-mode only. So
MS recommendation of small caps is useless. In online help, we usually use
phrases like "the Roll key." I also think putting the keyname in brackets would
be enough: "Press [Page Dn]."

>>Also, what typographic conventions are you using for field names?<<
Field names in hardcopy go in italic. I've also considered using a monospaced
typeface that would look like MS San Serif, but haven't decided yet.

In all the above, consistency is vital.

David Jones, Technical Writer
David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- Datahub -dot- com
Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate

DISCLAIMER:
"I do not speak for my employer, my computer, or any other living thing."


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