From: David Girardot <dmgirard -at- CORNETLTD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 15:24:38 -0500

From: Parker, Cassandra M. (EXCH) <CMPARKER -at- INTERMEDIA -dot- COM>
>I am puzzled by something and thought I would solicid your help. What
>is the correct standards for bringing attention to button names.
>EX: "Select the Add button".
>Would you say, Add button with Add:
>a. in bold
>b. underlined
>c. in upper case
>d. exactly as it is on the keyboard

Personally, I like it "Click the Add button" (if it's on-screen) or "Press
the Add key" (if it's on a keyboard). I tend to use "select" in a different
context. But you asked about emphasis methods too ... I don't like using
bold or underlined, mainly because I think it makes the documentation too
busy. I've heard it argued that the bold and underlining makes it easier
for users to follow the procedure. I'm not sure I agree, but I do think it
is possible to use emphasis (bold or underlining or whatever) if you keep
readability in mind.

I do think it is important to keep a few other things in mind:

keys on a keyboard: Decide whether you're going to mention the name of the
key on the keyboard (e.g. ScrLck) or the actual key name (e.g. Scroll Lock).
Consider explaining your method in an About this Guide section.

buttons on the screen: This could apply to any screen element. In general,
I think you should try and refer to the button /exactly/ as it appears on
the screen. Or if that's not possible include a picture of the button.
(That last advice also applies in the case of icons ... suppose you had the
FooBar icon which resembled a wrench strangling a lunchbox -- you might want
to refer to it along with a picture of the icon -- heck, you might even want
to mention that it looks like a wrench strangling a lunchbox if you're
/sure/ that most reader's will know what you mean.)

To summarize: I think that whether you decide to use emphasis or not is
largely a question of preference, as long as you keep readability issues in
mind. Also, you might want to consider explaining whatever conventions
you've chosen in an About this Guide section.

-- David

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