Handbook publishing - Why and How?

Why make a handbook?

Who should write the handbook?

Our experience shows that, in addition to a talent for writing, a substantial technical education is crucial for technical writing! To write a first-rate successful handbook, the writer has to really understand what he (or she) is writing about!

Paper, CD or the Internet?

Nowadays software documentation is often supplied on a CD and not in the form of thick printed books. This is often adequate, especially if the documentation is only needed in exceptional cases, as most modern programs have help functions and some documentation integrated within the program.

For a machine without a PC monitor, it is not obvious, that a CD is what the customer wants. "Old-time" paper may be quite appropriate. Though, a service engineer now often uses a laptop and a CD with all documentation and drawings. With that standing at the place where he is working, the CD may be much easier to use than a thick binder with - at worst - drawings which are out of date.

Some companies distribute the documentation to a general agent on a CD or over the Internet. Instead of sending tons of paper around the world, they let their agent handle the printing of the documentation. This is often done on demand just when it is needed.

So far it is quite uncommon to find handbooks and instructions on the Internet. But this will probably change very fast. Because it is much easier and cheaper to keep correct up to date information available on the Internet than to send out new binders or new CD:s by mail.

The question of publishing on the Internet or not, is also a matter of availability. Documentation on the Internet is always available without any delays!

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