Documenting processes

I used to use Clarify to document our charity’s on-screen processes. Before I go out and buy Screenflow and figure out how store all the videos for my team, is there a better way?

Following, I have this same question, though I already own Screenflow so my question is about whether there is a replacement for Clarify.

Clarify was pretty nifty but it was really just a very structured template for creating step-by-step lists of instructions and it’s that not hard to do in any word processor, wiki, blog, email client, etc.

  1. Create a numbered list
  2. Type in the step’s instruction text (e.g. Open System Preferences) and instead of hitting return, hit Shift+Return to create a new line that’s a really continuation of the previous line. It won’t get a number and will be indebted to match the list.
  3. Paste the screenshot associated with the instruction on the previous line. (I highly recommend Annotate for macOS because it is so fast to grab the screenshot, add a highlight/arrow/text and copy to your clipboard.)
  4. Hit return to go to the next numbered list item.
  5. Goto step 2; repeat until you’ve walked your users through each step of the process

Simple, but effective. I’ve used this for hundreds maybe even thousands of pages of documentation by this point. Easy to create; easy to revise. Time to create is crucial because there’s hardly ever time to spend on it despite it being so important to those you’re teaching. Screencasts are great but if the phone rings while you’re 75% of the way through or you need to revise step 4 of 8, your time to document and maintain has increased significantly.

Last tip: You can also develop your own formatting standards that help users pick out key info. I like to put menu items and buttons in bold, file or document names in italics. Don’t get to complex or you’ll slow yourself down and that’s the true enemy of docs. Good luck!


Mind blown:

instead of hitting return, hit Shift+Return to create a new line that’s a really a continuation of the previous line

Thank you. Jeez, and I call myself a Mac Power User.