Quick references

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Quick references are well suited to providing information such as keyboard shortcuts, common data values, and so on. Sometimes they are used to provide short, summary user instructions, but this is best avoided as if quick references are provided, users will almost never refer to the 'full' documentation. If quick references of instructions are provided, then a reference (link) to the full instructions should be provided.

Quick references are often seen as things that should be available to users at the point of use (for example, at their desk or other place of work - as opposed to filed on a bookshelf somewhere). 'Within arms reach', or 'within eyesight' are useful guidelines. Therefore, providing a list of common keystrokes as just another page in the manual may not be particularly useful. That said, it is now a fairly commonplace tactic to provide quick references on the inside covers of paperback books (possibly on throw-clear sheets, and possibly perforated, for easy detachment).

A better alternative to the provision of 'quick references' within the standard book or manual is to consider alternative formats, such as keyboard templates, laminated cards, pocket guides, and so on. This then poses the problem of where to house the quick reference for delivery. It may be necessary to provide a pocket on the inside of the main publication, in which the quick reference(s) can be stored. They can then be removed by the user and placed wherever suitable, upon receipt.

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