Re: Numbered Procedural Steps

Subject: Re: Numbered Procedural Steps
From: Kathy Fisher <kdfisher -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 21:12:58 -0800

Daniel Wise wrote:

> Colleagues,

> Eric Ray comments on numbered procedural steps. Why use numbers at all?
> Don't we usually use caps, italics, boldface, or a different type font to tell
> our reader what kind of action/resonse it is? If we have to click a button or
> strike some keys, we may put that in bold. Then we might use lightface for
> the screen response, etc. Why do we need to add to the clutter by putting in
> numbers or bullets or some cutesy dingbat? Seems like a waste of keystrokes
> to me.

> Dan Wise
> dewise -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

Numbered steps are necessary because we need some way to refer back to
previous steps, to avoid repetition in some cases. If we need to repeat
steps, what would we call them if we didn't number them? How can we give
them a unique identifier? It's much more practical to just say, "Repeat
steps 1 through 6, etc...." Plus, numbered items are useful for general
reference. If you have another document that refers to the procedure
containing the instructions, it may be necessary to refer to specific
steps or items within. Numbering them them makes this possible.
Kathy Fisher
Technical/Business Writing, Editing, Proposals, Manuals, Desktop

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