Comparing Print Manuals & E-Manuals

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  • 0:00 To Print or Not to Print
  • 0:57 Advantages of a Print Manual
  • 1:35 Disadvantages of a…
  • 2:15 Advantages of an E-Manual
  • 2:57 Disadvantages of an E-Manual
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

When considering how to distribute manuals for a new product, one of the first questions that has to be asked is whether a print manual or an e-manual will be used. In this lesson, we compare the two types.

To Print or Not to Print

If you want any further proof that the Internet has revolutionized the way that all of us live our lives, just reflect on the fact that a few decades ago that you would be reading this information instead of having it presented online. As a result, many people today have no problems getting all sorts of useful information off the Internet. In fact, with increased concern over the state of the environment, many people prefer to get their information off of a screen. However, when deciding how to distribute a manual, there are a number of other aspects that should be taken into account. In this lesson, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of publishing a manual in a traditional paper format as well as only using an e-manual instead. Remember that e-manuals are simply electronic versions of print manuals.

Advantages of a Print Manual

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a printed manual is that it won't run out of power. That may not mean much for a document that is being used only in an office setting, but if you're writing a technical document about how to jumpstart a car, then it won't do you much good if your electronic devices all have dead batteries. Likewise, print manuals have a single purpose. If you spill motor oil on a print manual, then the document itself may be ruined, but you're not going to lose the ability to call your friends or send e-mails to your boss. This fact is a real advantage for manuals that would likely see a lot of abuse.

Disadvantages of a Print Manual

Still, that same advantage of being a unitasker is also a disadvantage. Let's say that you had to keep track of multiple large manuals. If you have to carry them everywhere, suddenly you don't have room for anything else! If they were instead distributed in an electronic format, they could fit on a computer, e-reader, or even your phone. Additionally, print manuals tend to be more expensive. Every time that you want to create a new print manual, you'll have to pay to have the pages printed, bound, and delivered. Not only does this come at a considerable economic cost, but it also impacts the environment.

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