I design and create templates and style sheets for user manuals, online help files, and other forms of technical documentation, especially software documentation. My templates don’t just look nice; but they are also user-friendly and efficient for the authors to work with.
Do you need a template or style sheet for a printed user manual or for online technical documentation?
I can create individual templates for you that go well beyond just looking good; they present the information in a user-friendly, clear, and memorable way. A template that’s also efficient for the author can save a lot of time and money. The savings multiply with each new document and with each update of a document that’s based on the template.
While the visual design of a template can be delegated to a graphic artist, defining paragraph styles and character styles in detail requires a lot of experience in technical writing and also the ability to think ahead for future documentation requirements.
▪Less is more: It’s vital to have a clear design that encourages a focus on the content and that doesn’t distract, both for the reader and writer of technical documentation. The key rule is: Less is more. Having a small number of well-thought-out styles is much more practical than having a plethora of individual styles for every exception you can think of.
▪Semantic styles: As another basic principle, styles are never named according to their visual appearance but according to the content of the text they’re to be applied to. Therefore, for example, a style will never be named “ArialBold10Point” but “emphasis” or “menu item” instead.
▪Easy to change: All styles are organized hierarchically. Child styles inherit the properties of their parent styles. Thanks to this approach you can, for example, change the font of all styles within a document with just one click, simply by changing the root style.
▪Easy to assign: All styles are named so that related styles (for example, all styles for lists) are displayed directly one below the other in the styles gallery of your authoring tool.
▪Easy to remember: Hot keys (shortcuts) are defined for the most frequently used styles. A well-thought-out system ensures that you can remember these hot keys.
▪Automated formatting: A sophisticated definition of certain style properties can save a lot of manual formatting work. Page breaks, for example, can be automated to a large extent simply by defining the appropriate paragraph style settings.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to .