2 Replies Latest reply on Mar 26, 2013 10:11 AM by jz41997

    Can you help me with Page Layout and/or Design ideas for a software manual?




      I am a new InDesign user, and am converting a software manual that I created in MS Word into InDesign. It will be converted to a pdf to view online. I have the basics (3 master pages, page numbers, running headers, 2column pages with text boxes on the left and screenshots on the right), but I want to make it look prettier. Could you please give me some ideas on page layout and/or design to make it look better or more creative?


      A few things that I am considering: borders around screenshots, a watermark, a logo next to the page numbers, different size/type of fonts, etc.


      I am open to any suggestions to make this look better. However, please understand that I am new to InDesign. With that being said, please tell me a few steps when you mention your tips. Thank you!

        • 1. Re: Can you help me with Page Layout and/or Design ideas for a software manual?
          Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Take a look at a few websites on Cannons of Page Construction.


          I think the best idea for you is to look at a few software manuals and take tips from how they accomplished the layouts.


          I'm not saying to copy them - but rather see what works and doesn't work, what worked for them might not necessarily work for you - research some layouts.


          Fonts/type/sizes etc. are pretty much ambigious without context - is this a software manual for kids (soft cuddly big fonts easy to read), technical (small, tight spacing etc), Adult friendly (smooth, crisp clear, well spaced), elderly (large elegant fonts).


          It all really depends on your demographic audience.


          Being new to InDesign I suggest you take up Sandy Cohens Quickstart Visual Guide.

          I think you should look at Michael Murphys Book on Styles


          And you should definitely get your printer (the guys bulk printing) the booklet for you on board from the start to work out optimal sizes to suit their printing presses and workflow etc. And to ensure that you are setup correctly in page sizes, margins, safe type areas, colour profiles and a few other things that your printers prepress can help you with.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Can you help me with Page Layout and/or Design ideas for a software manual?
            jz41997 Level 1

            Thank you for your advice! I will check into a few of these.  I just ordered the Quickstart Visual Guide.


            I'm having trouble locating nicely laid-out software manuals online. That was my first attempt at getting ideas.


            My audience is all of the professors in my technical writing department. I wanted to put together something nice for my graduation portfolio. With that being said, can anyone offer further tips to appeal to the demographic of middle-aged, doctorate-level professors? Thanks.