To document Windows functions or not?

Subject: To document Windows functions or not?
From: Alisa Dean <Alisa -dot- Dean -at- MCI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 1996 12:15:00 -0700

On Dec. 16, Bruce Brill wrote:
>I work for a software development company and am writing a user's
>manual for a new product which includes the standard Windows editing
>functions of Cut, Paste, Copy, Undo and Select All. The product is
>targeted for a specialized, professional market, and it is expected
>that users will already be comfortable with Windows software. This
>being the case, should I document the standard Windows editing
>functions, or is it reasonable to assume that they will be
>understood? All input on this question most welcomed.

My standard is that if it is displayed in any way in the application
window, it should be documented. If nothing else, do a brief description
and refer the user to standard Windows document for more information.
I would hesitate to spend a lot of time documenting these functions,
but I wouldn't ignore them, either.

BTW, I've found that assuming knowledge of the user can be a pitfall.
It is surprising, sometimes, how many users do not know some of the
"basics" that we all assume that they know.

Alisa Dean
Sr. Technical Writer
alisa -dot- dean -at- mci -dot- com


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