Re: Procedural Steps

Subject: Re: Procedural Steps
From: Kim Keegan <keegan -at- EXPLORERS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 09:42:12 -0800

Eric J. Ray wrote:
> I've always assumed that each numbered step should
> reflect an action on the part of the reader. That is,
> if there are three things the reader must do,
> there should be three steps. I've found that many
> books present the information as
> 1. Select some text.
> 2. The text will appear highlighted on the screen.
> 3. Click the B button.
> 4. The text will be boldfaced.
> 5. Do something else.---SNIP---

I, too, personally object to numbered non-actions. I can't offer any formal studies,
only my personal style. If your audience was novice and needed the RESULT of an
ACTION described, as in your example above, I would write it something like this:

1. Select some text.
The text will appear highlighted on the screen.

2. Click the B button.
The selected text will now be boldfaced.

Or perhaps a table with an action column and a result column, if the contents weren't
too verbose...

Of course most of us know that if you select *bold* text and click on the B/bold
button, it will toggle back to not-bold (i.e. "Select some text" might be too vague)!

Kim Keegan | keegan -at- explorers -dot- com
Is it 5:00 yet?

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