Your templates will fall into two categories

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  In Section 1, Topic 4 you established what documents were required by your organisation, in Section 2
  you established all of your core standards for developing documents. Now you need to establish what
  templates you will use for each of these documents, and develop them using the standards you have
  established.

  At the end of this topic you will complete the tables you started in Section 1, Topic 5 – Identify Document
  Requirements.


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  Your templates will fall into two categories:
  S   the core templates you develop showing front pages, logos, headers and footers, etc
  S   document specific templates containing instructions on how to use the template to complete a specific
      type of document.


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  In a previous section you completed a research project on how readers read. You should have
  summarised important aspects of this information and produced some guidelines in your Styles and
  Standards Manual. Now you have to take our own advice as you enter into the phase of designing your
  own templates.

  Many templates look good until they are printed and at that stage it becomes apparent that the font, or the
  font size, or the layout, are simply not that comfortable to look at and do not guide the reader’s eye in the
  right way.

  The appalling readability of many early web pages has generated a significant level of research in this
  area. Much of the result of that research has flowed back to the presentation of the printed page, which
  has undergone significant shifts and improvements in recent years.

  You should ensure you understand readability issues for both paper and web layout if you are managing
  both kinds of documents, as they do differ. A good paper page layout is not necessarily a good web page
  layout.

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  Standards for readability are changing all the time as research progresses, so you should establish a
  process for keeping up with the latest. Complete the individual Research Project if you are working alone
  or the Group Research Project if you are working as part of a class. You can find a lot of information on
  the web or your technical bookshop or library should be able to supply you with reference books.




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                      If you are working alone, identify the most important type of document or
                      documents you are working with and review a range of documents for
                      compliance with the latest in readability concepts.

                      Make sure you look at the difference between paper and on-line if you are using
                      both media.

                      See what you can find that can be used for two different purposes:
                      S     to help you design your templates
                      S     to help your users to understand why you have designed your templates in
                            the way you have.

                      Append your list of recommended references (or prints of web pages) as an
                      attachment to your strategy document.


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                      If you are part of a group, divide into small groups, choose a distribution
                      medium such as paper, on-line web pages, computer based training, video, etc.

                      See what samples and other information you can find that can be used for two
                      different purposes:
                      S     to help you design your templates
                      S     to help your users to understand why you have designed your templates in
                            the way you have.

                      Report your findings to your group. Show comparisons between different templates
                      and explain their good and bad features.

                      Attach recommended layouts to your strategy document. Make sure you look at the
                      difference between paper and on-line if you are using both media.



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  Whatever templates you decide to develop, remember the key central KISS rule.

                                         KEEP IT SIMPLE

  Design as few templates as you can, and use as few styles and automation techniques as you can in those
  templates.

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  If you are an expert technical writer, you have probably mastered the tools you use. It is worth
  remembering that no one else has! It is very important to design your templates appropriately for the
  audience who will use them. If your audience includes low level users, then you need to keep your
  templates simple; if they are high level users, then they do not need many of the document automation
  features so often put into templates. Either way, use as little as you can and use the features you elect to
  use with discretion.


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 First of all, you should collect and collate any pre-existing in-house and external templates to learn from
 and work with.


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                     Collect and review existing in-house templates:
                     S   Are they a mess or are they well managed?
                     S   Are there any that you can pick up and use as the basis for your new set of
                         templates?

                     Look around for documents you feel are well laid out and very readable that you
                     can use as a basis for your own template design:
                     S   What do you like about them?
                     S   What will you need to do to adapt them?

                     Include a summary of your findings in the strategy document under the heading
                     Standard Templates, Template Design.



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 Rather than leave this to chance and guesswork, it is wise to conduct a formal analysis of the levels to
 which your users can use the tools at this stage.


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                     Conduct a formal review of the skill level of your users. Take nothing for granted:
                     S    Are your users attaching style sheets or templates?
                     S    Are they using the styles?
                     S    Do they understand automated features such as fields, macros, cross
                          references, automatic numbering, etc?

                     Include a summary of your findings in the strategy document under the heading
                     Standard Templates, User Skills in Using Tools.




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      On one contract I was asked to put together a documentation strategy for business analysts on IT
      projects. My audience was drawn from two groups, people from the business who were brought
      into a systems environment to provide a user focus and people from the systems team.

      My assumption was that the business users would be weak in their use of the tools – in this case
      Microsoft Word – as that had been my experience in previous projects, and that business
      analysts drawn from the systems team would be strong – again my experience on a previous
      project.

      My assumptions were wrong. Sure enough, the business users were not very good. Most were
      applying styles erratically if at all. But to my surprise, the systems group was even weaker. They
      did not understand style sheets or styles at all and did not seem to be aware of their existence.

      Once I became aware of this, I assessed the likelihood of being able to provide training in the use
      of the templates. Not a chance, so my already simple templates just got simpler.




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 Training is a topic that we will look at in more detail later, but at this stage you cannot fully understand
 the skill level of your audience without assessing the likelihood of being able to conduct training courses
 in the templates you are producing.

 Be sure to discriminate between generic training in the tools, such as a Microsoft Word training course
 run by a private provider, and a specific course designed to train the users in how to use your templates
 and your templates only. A two-hour walk-through may be all that you need to raise the company skill
 level significantly.


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                      Assess the likelihood of training users to use your templates effectively.

                      Write a recommendation concerning what training should be conducted in your
                      environment so that users can effectively use your templates.

                      Include a summary of your findings in your strategy document under the
                      heading Standard Templates, User Training in Template Use.



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 Your Core or Basic templates are the foundation upon which any subject specific templates will be
 developed. If you are working in Word, these are your ‘.dot’ files.

 If there is anything in the next section that you do not understand, then please consider taking an
 advanced course in the tools you are using before you proceed.




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  You must establish an overall look and feel that will be consistent across all of your documents. You will
  need to pick up any design requirements identified in ‘Research Existing Systems and Standards’.


   Template Element           Description

   Front Pages                Most organisations require standard front pages on all documents to share the
                              same characteristics. What are yours?

   Margins and Line           You should establish a consistent:
   Spacing
                              S   left and right margin spacing, taking into account whether the documents will be
                                  printed double sided (mirror margins) and need a left margin spacing (gutter) to
                                  accommodate binding
                              S   top and bottom margin spacing
                              S   paper size (usually A4) and orientation (portrait or landscape).

                              If in doubt, accept the defaults for your tool, which will come with a standard
                              template.

   Headers and Footers –      Once you know whether you are printing single or double sided and have
   Layout                     determined the other parameters above you can determine how to print your
                              headers and footers in relation to single or double sided printing and heading
                              pages.
                              S   Do you want a different header and footer display for your first page?
                              S   Do you want your sections to start on odd or even pages or any page?
                              S   Do you want different headers and footers for odd and even pages?

   Headers and Footers –      Headers and footers between documents will vary according to the nature of the
   Appearance                 document, but most organisations want some reference to each of the following:
                              S   the company logo
                              S   the name of the document
                              S   the chapter of the document
                              S   the document print date or version number
                              S   a page number.

                              Some of these can be inserted using fields.

   Fonts, Font Sizes and      Does your company have a recommended font? If not you may be able to choose
   Colours                    any font but take care to choose one that ALL the printers in your organisation can
                              print. If in doubt stick to Arial for headings and tables, and Times New Roman for
                              text.

                              Choose the smallest possible font that your client group can comfortably read in
                              their work situation. For example, someone sitting at a desk in office light conditions
                              can usually manage 11 point for Times New Roman and this is taking over from 12
                              point as the standard font size. However, if you are writing a document for a trainer
                              or someone who is standing at a distance from their reading material, choose a
                              larger font.

                              Use 9 or 10 point Arial for tables and do not go above Arial 14 point for headings.
                              Larger is not easier to read.

                              If you are printing in black and white, stick to black text on white in your templates.
                              Other colours will print at some level of greyscale and be more difficult to read.




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  Having determined each of the above you can create your document style using the standards you have
  determined. The following list gives basic recommended styles to which you can add for your specific
  needs.

  DO NOT provide too many styles. Start with the following and then make sure you justify any styles
  added over this basic minimum.
  S   Four heading styles
  S   two body text styles
  S   three levels of bullet
  S   three levels of numbering
  S   three indent styles for text under the bullets and numbering
  S   one table heading, one table text, two table bullets and two table numbering styles
  S   one style for notes, warnings and the like
  S   one header and one footer.

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  The most likely place for you to use fields in a core template is in headers and footers. You might want to
  use fields in the header and footer to enter the document name, the document file name, the content of a
  particular heading level, the date and time, page numbers and the like.

  If your users are inexpert, then limit fields to headers and footers that they are not likely to want to update.
  Fields are a feature that users can find very difficult to understand.

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  Most document production packages can generate and manage automatic tables such as:
  S   Table of Contents
  S   Indexes
  S   Table of Figures
  S   Table of Authorities

  You can include Table of Contents in your core templates and format it to suit, but avoid the others until
  you discover a real need in your document specific templates. Even then, consider whether you can really
  justify the degree of difficulty they introduce.




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  The following table indicates the kind of aids you may want to put in your core template – but remember
  if you do this they should be appropriate for the full range of documents that can be created with that
  template.


   Feature                    Description

   Toolbars                   Toolbars allow you to organise commands so you can find and use them quickly.
                              You can add and remove menus and buttons, create or customise your own custom
                              toolbars, hide or display toolbars, and move toolbars.

                              Customised toolbars are a very effective way of automating aspects of your
                              document. You can create buttons on toolbars to run macros or apply styles or a
                              whole range of other things.

                              They remain visible at the top of the document so the users are reminded of their
                              existence. If you have designed your buttons properly, they will also be self-
                              explanatory so that it is obvious to your users what to do with them.

   Quick Keys                 You can also assign functions to combinations of keys, for example, Ctrl Alt X may
                              insert a set of standard text about inserting cross references.

                              If you have advanced users, they may favour quick keys over toolbars so provide
                              both.

   AutoText                   Many packages have a feature for inserting AutoText. This means that you can
                              save standard sets of text that the author can insert by typing a code or using
                              toolbar buttons or quick keys.

                              If you want your users to insert tables using a particular format, you could use either
                              AutoText or a Macro.

   Macros                     If you perform a task repeatedly, you can automate the task using a macro. A
                              macro is a series of commands and instructions that you group together as a single
                              command to accomplish a task automatically. Instead of manually performing a
                              series of time-consuming, repetitive actions, you can create and run a single macro
                              to do it for you.

                              Some typical uses for macros include to:
                             S    speed up routine editing and formatting
                             S    combine multiple commands
                             S    automate a complex series of tasks.

                              You can create macros to insert standard tables and many other formatting
                              features. You may want to put some of these in the core templates, and you may
                              want others for specific document templates.




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  As with everything you have done so far you must consider how effective your users will be in using the
  software and how much training they will receive. In most organisations training in word processing
  software is not given a high priority, and rarely even incorporates the basics. If your organisation is like
  this, then the more complex your template the less chance it will be used effectively. Look at the list of
  Don’ts below and think very carefully before you use them.


     Don’t use…                Why?

     AutoText or macros        Do not use AutoText or macros if your users are very low on skills. They won’t find
                               them, they won’t remember they are there, or how to use them. However, do use
                               these if you are working with fairly competent authors who know their software
                               reasonably well. They can save a lot of time.

     hidden text               Do not use hidden text. An inexperienced user will not know how to make it visible
                               or invisible in a document or how to make it print. More importantly they will end up
                               with text they have added being hidden and have no idea where it has gone when
                               they print the document.

     floating rather than      Do not ‘float’ graphics. This is particularly for MS Word where the default way to
     embedded graphics         insert graphics has them visible in one view but not another. Ensure that whatever
                               software you are using, your graphics are visible in ALL views.

     cross references          These are not advised for amateur users but are indispensable for advanced users
                               compiling complex documents. However, there is no need for them in a core
                               template. Users can add them as required, when they are building their own
                               documents.

     linked files              Do not use linked files unless your users are high level users. Linked files are files
                               that appear in a parent document but reside elsewhere. Each time the parent
                               document is opened the linked file is imported into the document.

                               You would use this technique where you have re-useable modules that may go
                               across a lot of documents, and you want to keep only one version to update.

                               You will have to work out which is more effective for your organisation. Your
                               choices are:
                               S   Write the same text in each document and remember to update them all if you
                                   make a change – and risk forgetting some.
                               S   Link the re-used text into each document so that it updates dynamically whenever
                                   the document is opened – and risk your users getting totally confused with what
                                   you are doing.




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  You would not include any of the following in your basic core templates:
  S   Tables, except perhaps an ‘AutoText’ or macro for inserting a specific table with specific formatting.
  S   Graphics.

  We will look at these in more detail when we look at establishing function specific templates.


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                      List the paper-based templates you have created in your strategy document
                      under the heading Standard Templates, List of Core Paper-based Templates.



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  The rules for working with paper and on-line documents can be quite different and so your templates will
  also have a different look and feel and employ some different standards. There is a huge variety of
  electronic documents using vastly different technologies, so we cannot guide you through this process in
  this document.

  If you are using electronic documents, create the templates you need.


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                      List the electronic templates you have created in your strategy document under
                      the heading Standard Templates, List of Core Electronic Templates.




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