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I've written Quick Start guides as a book separate from the main User
guide. They've always gone over well, and sometimes I get requests for
a Quick Start guide only. I usually approach the quick start guide as
a How To guide, targeting the tasks mosts people want to be able to do
immediately. It's very procedural and often contains exercises or
In my situation, many of our end users don't want to wade through a
book, they just want to get the darn thing up and running and want to
know how to use it _now_. Some are even resistant to using a computer
in the first place so a smaller "Quick Start" booklet seems less
I have never included a Quick Start as part of a larger book, so I
can't comment on the effectiveness of that delivery method.
I'm interested in opinions on "Quick Start" sections - a section near
the beginning of a book where the reader follows detailed instructions
in order to accomplish some simple tasks with the software. It's
understood that the reader doesn't necessarily grasp the process, but is
able to see what can be done and how the major pieces of the interface
work together. Detailed chapters describing how to use the software
We're debating on whether to write (or whether *I'll* write) a Quick
Start section for some brand-new software we're producing.