Re: PDF vs. Hard Copy

Subject: Re: PDF vs. Hard Copy
From: Barry Campbell <barry -at- WEBVERANDA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 12:48:57 -0400


I have no studies to back me up, unfortunately... but do
you mind a little anecdotal raving? :-)

We switched from hardcopy to PDF about a year and a half
ago, and so far have received no complaints and much
positive feedback from our customers. In short, our
customers *love* our PDF documentation on CD-ROM and
would be very disappointed if we started shipping hard
copy again.

Here's why:

-- We use a layout that works on screen and/or on paper; large
type and lots of white space make for easy readability.

-- Using Acrobat's "Catalog" tool, we create a full-text
index of all of our documentation for each CD-ROM version
we ship. Customers can search for content in individual
documents or across the entire docset.

Of course, we include a traditional table of contents and
index for each document, but our customers tell us that
they use the full-text search feature very frequently
when looking for information. (Does this imply that our
documentation could be better organized? Perhaps... but
when you're grappling with software documentation that
runs to twenty volumes and three thousand pages, a full-
text search feature is a wonderful thing indeed.)

-- Customers can copy the CD-ROM onto their local intranet
and share the doc set (but not the full-set search feature)
via the Web, without copying or distribution costs. If
you're selling your docs separately, this is a problem;
we provide docs as part of the software license, so this
is a big plus for us and our customers.

-- Acrobat allows printing of sections on demand. The typical
workflow with our docs these days is:

- Locate the relevant section(s)
- Print them out if necessary
- Solve the problem.

Hope this helps,


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