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Technical Writing Tip:
Be careful what information you put online

Today, companies are putting more of their product information into online documentation (such as online help, Adobe Acrobat files, or web pages). The benefits of online documents over printed books include lower product costs, quicker turnaround, and easier updating.

However, there are certain types of information that you should avoid putting solely in online documentation:

  • Installation instructions or other information users need before the system is at a point where they can view the documentation.
  • Troubleshooting information (unless users would typically have other systems available for viewing the documentation).
  • Material that requires careful study. Remember that online documents have about 40% of the readability of paper documents.

Remember that most users still prefer a book over online documentation. Consider making printed versions of your manuals available to your customers as an option.

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