Re: Need tips to format a manual

Subject: Re: Need tips to format a manual
From: "Jane Bergen" <jbergen1 -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Techwr-L List" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 21:24:21 -0500


Sounds like you are wanting more help than you can get from a bunch of
email messages. I suggest you get some desktop publishing books and
read them from cover to cover. A good start is "Desktop Publishing for
Dummies" by Roger C. Parker. Don't let the name throw you's
a great little book for newbies. I used it with a desktop publishing
seminar I taught.

Unfortunately, there are no pat answers to your questions. Format is
determined (or should be) by content, purpose, and a host of other
factors. In other words, it depends on what you are writing, who will
use it, and how they will use it. I suggest that, as a new writer, you
walk around your company and gather user guides. Then sit down for a
couple of hours and look through them. I started with a clip book....
I just photocopied a lot of cool pages (you only need a few pages,
such as a chapter front, a right page, and left page) and put them in
a 3-ring binder for future use. You won't WANT to copy any of them
exactly...I haven't found any yet that are perfect... but they can
give you some good ideas for formatting, navigation devices, etc. But
don't go on just your own likes/dislikes. You need to have a good
understanding of basic design principles. I can recommend several good
DTP books if you're interested.

Good luck.

Jane Bergen

P.S. I would say PLEASE don't use right-margin justification, but I
won't because it will start a flame war. ;-) Instead, read it in the
DTP books!!

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bangeman, Brant [SMTP:Brant -dot- Bangeman -at- ARBITRON -dot- COM]
>> Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 9:15 AM
>> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>> Subject: need tips to format a manual
>> I feel humbled by all you writers out there who can format a manual
>> without
>> any trouble. Could you give us newbies some pointers?
>> What font or font groups should I use?
>> What about font size?
>> Should I justify both the left and right margins?
>> It it easy to index using Word 97?
>> Thanks,
>> Brant

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