Feedback on Manual for Windows 3.0.1

I have a suggestion for the manual. First I want to acknowledge that it’s extremely well organized, well written, and comprehensive. A huge amount of work obviously went into it, and I’m very appreciative of that.

I’m really missing the comprehensive TOC that the old manual had up front. I’ve been using Scrivener for many years, and the manual is a reference for me when I want to do something I haven’t done before, or can’t remember how I did it. Often the fastest way for me to find what I’m looking for is to scan through the TOC, find one or a few places where it might be found, and click through to those. I used the comprehensive TOC regularly in the old manual. I’m finding the dispersed TOC in the 3.0 manual is taking far more time to find things. I realize I can also do a search on terms, but that often turns up way too many references, and I often don’t know what the specific term would be, it’s more a functionality that I can find quickly by browsing a comprehensive TOC.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for a terrific product!

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Yes, completely agree!

Yes, completely agree! The current manual is a marvel after I’ve managed to find what I’m looking for, but that usually requires hitting Find a dozen or so times–and that’s if I’ve used the correct search term, which I probably haven’t.

The dispersed TOC would theoretically be useful once I know what section I’m looking for, but in practice the only way to determine the section is to first do those dozen Finds, and if I do manage to locate the spot I need, then I’m already in the details–so what’s the practical value of the dispersed TOC? @AmberV, I’m wondering what’s the use case here?

The 1.9 up front comprehensive TOC was 4 pages and made each major section of the manual extremely transparent to me. The 3.0 minimal TOC is 2 pages and (by design) reveals very little about the contents of each major section. In my opinion, the loss in usability and decrease in friendliness was not worth the 2 pages. :pouting_cat: (This reply was a good excuse to use the pouting cat emoticon. :sunglasses:)


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The ToC is in the PDF’s bookmarks.



Problem solved, indeed.

I’ve gotten so used to reflexively closing Adobe Reader’s bookmarks tab that I don’t even look at it anymore. Thank you @ownedbycats :smile_cat: (now I have a good excuse to use smiling cat )


Thanks for the kind words regarding the manual, you all. :blush:

I really cannot disagree with the feedback here. One of the main points of praise that I gathered for the original user manual was its extensive and useful ToC making it easy to find exactly what people were looking for. I can say that the number one—without any doubt—complaint that we have about the new manual is how hard it is find anything.

As ownedbycats notes, I set the sidebar ToC to be very detailed in order to help compensate for this design approach. What is plainly evident however is that the sidebar ToC is a tool that not many people have a high awareness of, so it kind of fails as a broad solution, unfortunately.

@JimRac: The 1.9 up front comprehensive TOC was 4 pages and made each major section of the manual extremely transparent to me.

It would have been about seven or eight pages at similar print settings—but I don’t really consider that to be excessive either. I have many software manuals with at least half a dozen pages of contents—and a lot of those are clearly doing everything they can to reduce page counts, like having text go nearly all the way to the unprintable area around the page.

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Thank you @ownedbycats! I might eventually have stumbled on that, but it would never have occurred to me to look there.
@AmberV—brilliant to provide it as a sidebar in the bookmarks—that leaves it constantly open while searching through the manual, which is super helpful. And, to your point, it’s not intuitive for many of us to look there, and many people don’t even know about bookmarks. For myself, now that I know where it is, if I had to choose one I’d choose the bookmarks since it can be held open. For those who don’t know about bookmarks, or don’t think to look there, a note at the top of the TOC informing the reader about the bookmarks TOC would be helpful.

Yeah, I think part of the problem is that some PDF readers (notably the free Preview that ships with macOS) default to showing page thumbnails instead, which is kind of useless for something like this and promotes turning the sidebar off to get rid of it, rather than exploring what it can do. So you not only have to be aware of the sidebar as a feature, but that it can have different modes of use.

Overall I would agree that it is a superior and more modern tool than a “printed ToC”, especially since some readers can filter by heading in the sidebar, making it easy to find topics by feature names and such. Being able to collapse sections you aren’t interested in at the moment is also nice. Where the printed ToC does have an advantage is in it being formatted for easy reading, and being the first hit in any body Ctrl+F search from the top. These small advantages aside, I’ll use the sidebar whenever a PDF makes one available (particularly since many PDFs don’t have clickable internal links and inaccurate mappings between printed page numbers and internal PDF page numbering).

I do have a note about it under §2.2, About This Manual, subheading Finding Things in this Manual. I’ve experimented with getting a note above the ToC itself, but given how this is dynamically generated, it’s a bit difficult. The problem is that, from my end of things, the ToC looks like this:


That contains the whole tamale, including the chapter break page. So if I insert text above that command, the text ends up awkwardly on the chapter page. I’d have to customise how the ToC is generated at a lower level—which isn’t impossible, but a good deal more difficult than just typing in some text somewhere. But it’s a good idea, so I’ve got it on my “nice to have” todo list. :slight_smile:

Ahh yes, the trials and tribulations of automation. It does so much for us, until it doesn’t …

This is just a thought, and probably there’s plenty of good reasons why not to do it, but suppose the very first section of the book was a single page that was titled “How To Access Detailed Table of Contents” and on that page you explained how to access the Bookmarks section. Then people would see it at the top of the TOC and on the first page.

BTW, I love the Emerson quote, I hadn’t come across that before.

Must admit, I thought the View Bookmarks was the default setting in reader/viewers because mine always showed up (Foxit Phantom).

It certainly does a good job showing me where stuff is, even if I don’t always use the correct terminology :roll_eyes:

Keep up the great work.