I'm sure you get those questions too.
You recommend a software program to someone. A program you use yourself and have come to know rather well. It's one of those great programs you think is practical and efficient, the best around. Your friend trusts you and downloads it (or purchases it).
But then gets stuck on one or other point to get it working properly. And although the (online) help library/manual you know will tell your friend how to correct or solve this problem very easily, your friend calls or emails you: help!
Have you ever tried explaining over the phone where he should click on (left click/right click), in which menu bar he can find the specific icon you want him to click on to change some settings for the better. Or tried to explain that in an email?
Even when you have the program open in front of you - it is a hard task, specially when you have kind of forgotten how unknown this same program was to you the first time you worked with it.
My friends know I keep recommending programs to them ever so often when they express their frustrations with a program they're working with at the moment: Oh, you're much better off with this or that type of program, much easier and much more effective. So yes, I do get those cries for help often too.
But lately, thanks to a program an online friend (Ed Rivis) recommended to me this time, explaining how to solve the problem at hand has become so much easer. All it takes now is the promise to email them a PDF-file with instructions. And it only costs me around 1 - 3 minutes to create the needed instruction.
The program Ed made me aware of is ScreenSteps (aff)
When you have the program your friend has a problem with open on your screen and also open ScreenSteps you can step by step show where your friend has to click, what he has to fill in where and how the end result should look like. Per step you take a 'screen-snap', highlight the exact point (with arrows, circles, even numbers) where the mouse should go, where the left or right click should be made etc. Then underneath the screen-snap you can write simple instructions for that step - perhaps even explaining the why's.
And you go on the the next step. When finished with one click of a button the instructions are exported into a PDF-file, ready to be emailed to your desperate friend.
And all this in 1 - 3 minutes.
Let me give you an example:
Changing a signature in Eudora
Open signature tab
In Eudora, underneath the list of your mail boxes you'll see various buttons.
Click the signature one.
Select the sig you want to change
Double click on the signature you want to change, this will bring all text into the area next to the box.
Change your text
Change text to what it should be
Save by clicking the X box
Click Yes and voilà, signature changed.
(End of example)
And of course, the next friend who stumbles at the same point of a program is helped even quicker. Open your PDF-file library you placed all the individual 'lessons' in, select the correct one and attach it to an email. Or, and this a great other feature/benefit from the ScreenStep software: combine different 'lessons' into one manual (by drag and drop) - export the complete manual to a PDF-file and you have an instant training manual.
Everyone knows I love AWeber, but I've also fallen deeply in love with ScreenSteps (aff).
On the 1 Plus 1 Makes 3 blog you can read more about this simple but oh so versatile program. Because it can do so much more than creating PDF-files. How about creating blog-posts, webpages or even online training courses - on any subject you can think of? All with 1 program: ScreenSteps.