Help Menu - PDF User Manual

Waiting for Mac Help to open is an embarassment we don’t like to talk about due to its molasses speed. I think BBEdit and several other developers are doing it right after all these years. How about placing your PDF User Manual in the App Support folder with a choice to open it under the Help Menu? We wouldn’t need to hunt for it on the extras-and-manuals page. It would add speed and extra comprehension to your already excellent Mac Help files, and of course would download into the App Support folder only by request.


It may be worth considering doing what I have done and that is download the pdf and file in DEVONthink somewhere? Then it is easily searchable and you always can find it quickly. Just a thought :slight_smile:

I keep all our manuals in my Support DB for just this purpose. :smiley:

Having a dedicated DB for Manuals is a good idea, I will implement this by moving all mine from various scattered places to one. Thanks for the idea :slight_smile:

I do like the OP’s suggestion of including the PDF in the Help menu. The PDF could be in the application bundle, or the menu could link to the PDF on the DEVONthink site. Either way, it does save the trouble of going to the DEVON site, navigating through the menus to get to the documentation, download it to the Downloads folder, move it to wherever, etc… Other apps that I’m using are doing this, and I too find it very convenient.

Agreed that including the PDF version of the manual in the Help menu would be useful.

I have a criticism of the manual, however, in that I find it to be too lightweight (ergo I disagree with [url]There is a great Manual for DTPO!]). For an application with such enormous complexity and versatility the manual is, in my opinion, too short on detail. My comparator would be Scrivener (very powerful software), which has an extraordinarily detailed and helpful manual. I rarely have to go to the Scrivener forums with questions about functionality; any queries I post there tend to be related to unexpected behaviour. With the DTPO manual I find the descriptions of features don’t give me enough detail. I look at some of the sticky topics on the forums here and wonder why the information is not included in the manual.

I may be totally alone here, and I accept that learning by doing is the best way to understand complex software. However, I always try to turn to manuals first before coming to user forums.

Could you provide an example?

Would you like two? :smiley:

One that comes to mind is replicants. I find the description offered in the manual is not entirely satisfactory. This thread (Improve Replication) was much more enlightening. This particular example/description by Frobgoblin is simplicity personified: ‘this is where replicants come in handy. if i annotate the receipt in one location, the annotation is reflected in all three.’ Perhaps my reading comprehension is poor, but that ability is not entirely clear to me from the manual. One might say that the distinction between Duplicates and Replicants is not well made in the manual.

These are minor criticisms, and the forum generally provides answers after some searching. My point is that I don’t find the manual to be a definitive, detailed guide to the software.

Frobgoblin’s explanation is indeed handy, but it is anecdotal. Many times this kind of information is only applicable in certain instances, hence wouldn’t be included in a manual.

Manuals rarely are as they can’t cover the many uses cases for an application. This is not to say our manuals are perfect, but this is also where community plays a part. With many helpful Forum members, the knowledge base about our applications is much deeper and broader than a manual alone can cover.

That all being said, I will bring up the potential of reviewing our documentation approach. :smiley:

Absolutely, but the underlying principle implicit in that specific approach is not clear (to me at least) in the manual: Changes made to one replicant are applied to all instances.

What more can I ask!

I never meant that the manual was perfect, I just feel that every time I read it I learn something new.

I hate manuals but DevonThinks is one of the few I actually read.

Have the feeling that if you get a too complicated manual to start with you try the app but give up. I did so at first with DevonThink but then just locked myself inside a weekend and decided to learn at least the basics. That paid off and is by far the most underestimated app I have ever tried.

I could see an advanced manual but on the other hand, this forum is ten times better since you learn a bit at a time and that info stays. To get a DevonThink bible would help at lest me less than look here when I have a question. Think there is more knowledge among you (us) users than what you can get from a thick book.

I also think there are so many levels of users, like me level 2 on a scale of 10 and I rather see more level 2-5 users to keep the app and developers alive instead of scaring away us newbies and focus on the level7-10 users that in my opinion are so few so financially that would be suicide. Rather make the app easier like I think is what is happening with DTTG 2 but still have the possibilities for all the advanced users. Again, hundred dollars means that the app have to have many users in many levels to survive.