Summary - including only part of dialog in screen shot

Subject: Summary - including only part of dialog in screen shot
From: Gilda Spitz <Gilda_Spitz -at- MARKHAM -dot- LONGVIEW -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 17:32:11 -0400

Way back at the beginning of May, I sent a question to this list about
including a partial picture in a manual. Many of you were kind enough to
reply - thank you very much! For one reason or another, I had to put the
whole issue aside until this week.

I received the following suggestions:

- use a "torn edge" graphic effect - described on this listsrv by J Wynia

- cut the thing with paint, taking care to cut a part (such as an input
field) in order to make it clear it's an excerpt. Sometimes we put the
whole thing and draw an ellipse around the field (use the circle, draw an
ellipse, then drag a few copies of it /ctrl + mouse drag, or copy paste,
not on the image, in another paint session to obtain a more hand-circled

- use a dashed black line to indicate the omission of part of the dialog.
The Microsoft Manual of Style contains a few examples of this technique
(for instance, see page 43 in the 1995 edition).

- show a thumbnail of the entire screen shot (something up to 2 inches
wide) to establish the context, and use a callout enlargement (think
"magnifying glass", but offset slightly from the overall image) to show the
relevant part you want readers to focus on.

- include the whole graphic. It's helpful to show the whole thing, because
we have so many different dialogs/windows, that seeing the whole thing is
more likely to trigger the memory than seeing a few fields.

- use a caption like: "Figure 1-1. This Job dialog box (detail)"

- crop the screen shot (retaining enough of it to provide a frame of
reference), then copy the cropped image into PowerPoint and draw a freehand
box around the image, with a jagged line along the edge of the crop to
indicate an unseen continuation of the screen.

- place a heavy box around the areas you want to emphasize in full screen
shots. You can then use this same technique for the partial shots
that follow, i.e., use the same heavy box around the entire partial

I've decided to use J. Wynia's "torn edge" graphic effect. I had some
trouble getting it to work correctly with Paint Shop Pro. That's why it's
taken me this long to resolve the whole issue. But he? she? was kind enough
to help me through it, and my screen shots really looks terrific. By the
way, if any of you out there have had problems with Paint Shop Pro and this
effect, contact me off-list, and I can tell you what we did.

Thank you all very much for your input.

Gilda Spitz
Manager, Documentation and Translation
Longview Solutions, Inc.

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