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Andy Brown wrote:
On Tue Nov 23 2010 12:36:35 GMT-0800 (PST)  Robert Derman wrote:

Assuming that it is, I think the primary users manual should focus on Writer, with just one chapter on each of the other modules, and a pointer to where to download a more extensive manual on each. Where I disagree with most who write in, is that I think that a basic manual like I describe *should be in the download package*. In order to keep it small for that reason, it should be in ODF format not PDF, and it should be formatted for an 8.5x11 page rather than the usual 5x7 so that it would be practical for the user to print out without the horrendous paper waste of the 5x7 format. (Remember all printer paper comes in 8.5x11 or similar) Also keeping it to 100 pages or less will both keep the download size down, and encourage users to actually print a hard copy. (a hard copy is very useful because you can read in the manual while using the software) I find help often less than helpful simply because it can be difficult to both read how to do a thing and simultaneously do it. I recognize that a much longer and more detailed manual is required to completely cover subjects like Styles, but for all beginners, and most other users a manual like I just described is what's needed. Probably organized with an introduction to the most used commands, then a tutorial, then a reference section.

There are two of your points I would like to comment on.

First, use ODF instead of PDF. If a person wishes to view the installation part of the document before they install the software then they are out of luck.

Second, where do you get the idea that the documents are formated to 5x7 paper size? None of the documents I have seen have been formated for that size paper. All the docs from the OOoAuthors site are in fact formated for paper size A4. The PDFs can be printed two-up on 8.5x11 paper.

On your first point I agree with you, the installation instructions should be in PDF for the reason you state. I do know however that ODF if far more economical of file size than PDF, I have noticed that on documents that I have written with Writer and then output as PDFs. As far as 5x7 that is a guesstimation. What I do know for sure is that when I print manuals out there are usually hugely wasteful margins at all 4 sides when they are printed on 8.5x11 inch paper which is the only size commonly available in the U.S. I actually resent the authors forcing me to waste this much paper!

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