Link to home
Create AccountLog in
Avatar of brothertruffle880
brothertruffle880Flag for United States of America

asked on

Use of colors in documentation - Callouts, keyboard/mouse actions, sidebar definitions


I'm writing a user manual with step-by-step actions and I'm looking for a web site or blog or pdf that has best practices for using colors in callouts, documenting keyboard mouse actions, etc.
Avatar of Colleen Kayter
Colleen Kayter
Flag of United States of America image

Link to home
Create an account to see this answer
Signing up is free. No credit card required.
Create Account
Avatar of brothertruffle880


Thanks.  I just ordered the MS Manual of Style.  Didn't even know they had one.
You're welcome. Good luck with your project. There are few things more tedious to write than step-by-step manuals.

There is a Microsoft Garage Project that is awesome for screen snips. It turns the Print Screen button into a click/drag snipping tool... If you're running Windows 10, you can download it here. It works at an OS level, available in any app.
I tried Microsoft's Snip tool and wow, it is horribly inept. LOL  With all of Microsoft's dev money, I am shocked that they would release something so ridiculously terrible.

If you want a remarkably capable (and free) screen capture tool, check out Gadwin PrintScreen ( They offer both a fully functional free version (no hidden advertisements or limitations) and a pay version with additional features.

I've been using GadWin for years... I now use the paid version because I felt it was only right to pay after so many years of using it for free.

Best regards,
I agree with Colleen's original comment. It is up to you to come up with standards that best suite your company's requirements and target market/audience.

But whatever colors and other attributes you decided on, consistency is very important in most situations. The MS Style guide is very good and considered one of the leading references among technical writers. However, there are many excellent style guides that you can download for free. Just Google, "style guide pdf" and you will find excellent documents like:

Also, if you have the resources, I highly recommend that you create your own corporate style guide based upon your specific requirements.

Good luck,
Here is a good collection of style guides: