Writing question

Stephanie Hysmith sh120888 at OHIO.EDU
Fri Nov 12 18:04:07 UTC 1999

Amy, I'm with you. I'm forever buying new guides to software and then
despair of ever understanding the ins and outs of my computer. I think
consistency is the key, like your using <>s to represent keystrokes. I also
think it's important for words to match what's on the computer. I wouldn't
understand click file, which is misleading. I also agree it's appalling
that your manager is determined to maintain the status quo of incorrect
punctuation. It'll probably take notice from an important customer to get
her to change her attitude.

 While I would write,
>| 1. Click File, then click Open. The Open dialog box displays. |
>| 2. Press <Home>, then press <Enter>.                                |
>the idea is that capitalization is used for clarification. If I were to
>write, "Click file, then click open," I feel that could be even more
>confusing than the unconventional capitalization. The screen clearly
>displays "File" and "Open" as options, so I ought to be writing them as they
>are displayed.
>The keystroke example I used will vary from company to company. I used < >
>because of the lack of options in my email. Some would use bold, italics,
>all caps, etc. The most important thing is that the reader understands that
>those are keystrokes.
>Technical writing often takes conventional English writing rules and twists
>them a little bit to fit the software, the company style, or whatnot. I was
>mortified to learn that my department uses some punctuation incorrectly.
>When I talked to my manager about correcting it, she said that's they way
>it's done here, and we will have to continue to do it that way. Arrgghh!!
>Talk about an English major's nightmare.

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