Re: Including Screen Captures

Subject: Re: Including Screen Captures
From: Averil Strauss <averil -at- LEGENDCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 22:44:37 -0400

>At a present tech writing position, my pubs manager insists that the
>documentation not have any screen captures. It is said (or the theory
>behind this is) that we do not need to have screen captures for several

>1 - the product changes so much that it would be a bear to keep up with
> the changes and recapturing of screens

You must have poor utilities.

>2 - we are supporting many different platforms (UNIX, Windows NT and 95,
> and OS/2)

If you use Frame for documentation, you can conditionally include the screen
captures needed for each platform (automation!).

>3 - if we can document it well enough, we don't need the screen captures

So what do you use for visual interest, to break up the text?

>4 - the doc would be much longer (thus more costs related to documentation
> such as paper costs, etc.) and it's better to have shorter manuals

I disagree. Properly used, illustrations of a relevant section of the screen
can shorten the manual. If you are serious about reducing paper usage,
optimize your page size to fit exactly 2 (or more) pages on each side of the
sheet. We use 8.5x7 inch pages for 2 copies on legal paper.

>Has anyone heard of this theory of not including screen captures in doc
>for GUI-based software products? Is the user missing anything by not
>having screen captures in the doc? It _IS_ easier on our end to not
>have to do screen captures, but I'm a little concerned about the
>users. Am I way off base by thinking this way?

Frankly I think judicious screen captures make documentation easier and more

Legend Communications, Inc.
Developers of PostScript Software

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