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On 23 November 2010 21:25, 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

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.

There are some good manuals for OOo - Gabriel Gurley's "A conceptual Guide
to 3" and the Authors publications. However, I
think what is needed is an on-line tutorial system that leads to
certification. That is really what we will be aiming at with the LO
certification that we are meeting about in Berlin. If we can get EU funding,
we can produce an on-line tutorial system for each of the components of LO
in several languages with links to screen casts to demonstrate how to do
things. Link those to the assessment criteria and you have a fully supported
learning system. There is then the possibility of linking the LO help system
to this. Make it free for all to use but charge people who need
certification a small amount for the certification part and you have an
income to make it sustainable and to contribute back for development.

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