Re: Downsizing (literally) the manuals

Subject: Re: Downsizing (literally) the manuals
From: "Bergen, Jane" <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 13:39:46 -0600

You might also ask about disadvantages. One that immediately comes to my
mind is that you are limiting yourself (by at least 1.5 inches) on the
size of graphics and other non-text elements. In our documents, we have
to sometimes display lines of programming code or scripting. Some of
them can be quite long.

Another disadvantage is in the "prepping" -- we have to print drafts on
standard printers and they hold 8.5 by 11 paper. Sure, we could print on
this but it's ugly and wastes paper.

And don't forget your users. Maybe they like a larger format, with less
sheets of paper, so they can flat-fold the documents. It just depends on
who you are writing for and how they will use it.

Yes, I do like the look and the ease of handling of the smaller size,
but so much depends upon your production method, your content, and your

Jane Bergen, Technical Writer,
AnswerSoft, Inc. Richardson, TX
(972) 997-8355
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com

On Thursday, December 11, 1997 7:47 PM, Ron Rothbart
[SMTP:ron -dot- rothbart -at- DOCUMENTUM -dot- COM] wrote:
> Currently, our manuals are 8 1/2 x 11. We are proposing downsizing
them to
> the standard 7 x 9 1/2 size. The response to our proposal is generally
> positive, but one marketing manager is asking for "data." She wants us
> come up with marketing or usability studies that show measureable
> Does anyone know of anything we can use?
> Also, are there other issues besides the ones we've already
considered. The
> reasons we've given for downsizing are:
> * Looks more professional
> * It's the standard
> * Other companies in our "space" do it
> * Smaller paper books fit on all book shelves
> * Smaller paper books are less awkward to use
> * The PDFs we make from our manuals would be more usable (less
> The costs we've considered are:
> * Creating a new template
> * Applying the new template to legacy documents
> * Perhaps some scrapping of current covers
> * Downsizing cover art
> * Trimming by the printer
> * Adding some kind of space filler to the 8 1/2 x 11 boxes
> Are there other costs and benefits?
> Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g., SIGNOFF
> Search archives at:,
>, or

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