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Re: [libreoffice-documentation] Suggestion from a user on the "user mailist"
- Subject: Re: [libreoffice-documentation] Suggestion from a user on the "user mailist"
- From: Jean Hollis Weber <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 08:30:51 +1000
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tue, 2010-11-23 at 16:09 -0500, Marc Paré wrote:
> I was just on the user mailist and one the users was mentioning this:
> I have said this in the OOo discuss list, and I think it bears repeating
> here. One of the biggest problems causing the need for users especially
> new ones to need help is the lack of a good users manual. The OOo
> documentation site is very confusing, there are too many manuals to
> choose from and nothing says anything like "If you are a new user, this
> is the one you want". I could be wrong in this, but I don't think that I
> am. The only module I ever use with any regularity is Writer. If I can
> figure out how to use it, I might use Calc for a personal check
> register, likewise I might use Base for a list of all my DVD collection,
> but it's Writer that I use daily. I suspect that I am fairly typical in
> this, and that perhaps 50% or more of OOo, and now LO users use Writer
> far more than they use the other applications. A survey might tell us if
> that is so.
> 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.
> This could be one thing that would set LO apart from other packages that
> offer good word processors, Even expensive MS basically sucks in the
> area of manuals and user support. Years ago they used to be much better
> in this area. Good user support seems to be the first thing that for
> profit companies give up when they think they can get away with it.
> I was just wondering how large was the Writer documentation and in what
> format is it available? Of course the Writer module would be made
> downloadable for LibreOffice users if this were possible rather than his
> suggestion of including it in the package.
> How logical does his suggestion sound?
Marc, thanks for passing this on.
Some factual info regarding the OOo user guides:
1) The ODTs of the OOo user guides are available as well as the PDF
versions. At one point we were not allowed to put the ODTs on the main
OOo website because of license differences, but there are links to where
one can get them.
2) In most cases, the PDFs are *smaller* in filesize than the ODTs.
3) The PDFs of the OOo Writer Guide and the other user guides in their
current form (for V3.2) are NOT formatted for 5X7, although at least one
older version of those books was made available in the PDF used for the
pre-printed guide sold through Lulu, which is close to that size. The
current are formatted for reading on screen and for printing 2-up on
After complaints from users who wanted to print them, the draft V3.3
guides (and the first draft of the LibO guides) have been reformatted
for printing on A4/US paper size.
4) OOo provides the user guides in chapters as well as full books,
because we know that often people want only a subset of the
5) Surely the answer to "if you are a new user, this is the one you
want" is the book titled _Getting Started with OOo_.
Having said all that, I agree that improvements could (and should) be
made. I think the current "Getting Started with OOo" book, at over 350
pages, is much too long. My original intention was to have it no more
than 200 pages, but it grew... people kept adding things and it's hard
to decide -- or agree upon -- what to cut out. Turning some of the
chapters, particularly the chapter on Writer, into stand-alone books of
about 100 pages, is a good idea. Expand a bit on what's there and
include pointers to more detailed into in the full Writer Guide, which
runs around 500 pages.
Aside: I would like to split the Writer Guide into two books, one with
basic info and one with more advanced topics like master documents and
forms. The book of basic info does need to include the basics of style
use, because styles are fundamental to so many features of Writer.
Shipping a user guide with the product is a good idea, but runs into the
practical difficulty of getting stuff written/updated in time. The docs
always run behind, mainly because there are not enough people to work on
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|[libreoffice-documentation] Suggestion from a user on the "user mailist"||Marc Paré <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
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