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Aesthetics isn't the only thing that you should be striving for when you design a template. When creating technical documentation, such as user manuals and online help systems, usability, readability, and simplicity are just as crucial. The design must please the eye and at the same time communicate the content clearly. Paragraph styles and character styles should be efficient to use when writing the document. The layout process should be automated as much as possible. As user assistance documents are frequently updated, an automated layout process is much more important here than in other kinds of books. For example, when you insert a new paragraph into a document, this shouldn't result in you having to manually tweak all subsequent page breaks-not to mention page numbers, cross-references, the table of contents, and the index. Setting up templates and style sheets that are efficient to use when creating and updating a document requires a lot of experience in technical writing. The rules presented in this book are the essence of this experience. All chapters provide various examples that you can use for inspiration and as starting points for your own designs. Topics covered: Layout basics; Setting the type area; Choosing fonts and spacing; Avoiding manual formatting; Creating semantic styles; Organizing styles hierarchically; Recommended screen layouts; Recommended page layouts; Recommended table designs; Recommended paragraph styles; Recommended character styles. Audience: technical writers, developers, marketing professionals, product managers, designers.
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