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I've read all the posts so far and have one additional comment.
Like Amy and Ann, I also separate my user action from user
"verification" info. Unless you turn it into an action (i.e.,
"verify"), the reader may easily be left unsure about what is expected
BUT, I also preface any numbered instructions with an infinitive. So
all my instructions look like this:
To make text bold:
1. Select some text.
The text will appear highlighted on the screen.
2. Click the B button.
The text will be boldfaced.
3. Do something else.
I do this because I expect that my audience will be scanning the pages
looking for instructions on a specific task. I'm sure I didn't come up
with this myself--it's probably pretty common.
Sella Rush, Tech Writer
Applied Technical Systems, Inc. (ATS)
Developers of the CCM Database