Creating a consistent look and feel for docs

Subject: Creating a consistent look and feel for docs
From: "Lathrop, Sarah" <Sarah-Lathrop -at- forum-financial -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 16:50:47 -0400

My company is in the process of beginning an total reworking of our in-house software. The version currently in use has no documentation, and I was hired to create the docs. My manager wants to have a consistent look and feel to all documents created by our department, which includes documents written by the software engineers and the managers. I am currently working on a style guide. I am also creating a Word template and sample documents that others can use.

My manager wants all documents to have a cover page, TOC, standard first chapter, headers, footers, index, glossary, etc. but he wants it simple enough for non-expert Word users to use. With all of these features, my template is quickly becoming complex. I know from experience in a previous company that it is difficult to get people to use styles if they are used to just manually formatting everything. And Word being what it is........well, let's not start that one. It looks like I will have to create a whole section in my Style Guide just to explain how to use the styles, update the TOC, add a chapter, etc.

I don't want to have to spend hours fixing up others documents before they can be published, and we don't want to hire a word processing person to do it. Have any of you had any experience in getting people outside the Documentation group to create documents according to a standard?

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