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To my knowledge step-by-step tutorials should have the form of a ladder, where you describe how to get to a place step by step– accomplishing a single task at the end. Is it possible to accomplish many tasks while using the step-by-step approach? For example:

How to view a contact in Gmail?

  1. Open Gmail
  2. Click on Contacts
  3. To view a single contact, click on the name
  4. To view all the contacts, click the "contacts" link

Now, I am confused about step 3 and 4. Is it okay to list the two this way? I could list these two under a single step, but I have more than two items and this was just an example.

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1 Answer 1

If you want your tasks to have multiple endpoints, then you need to have an EXPLICIT branching point.

1 Open Gmail
2 Click on Contacts
3 Do you want to view (a) a single contact or (b) all contacts.
4a To view a single contact, click on the name
4b To view all the contacts, click the "contacts" link.

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I have to submit stuff through an online system where step 1, step 2, and more are already listed in the system. I am not sure if option three would fit in there. Any thoughts? –  Noah Apr 19 '13 at 4:38
    
Then use 3 To view (a) a single contact {Go to 4} or (b) all contacts {Go to 5}. 4 To view a single contact, click on the name 5 To view all the contacts, click the "contacts" link. –  Fortiter Apr 19 '13 at 6:47
1  
I would number those 3a and 3b, not 4a and 4b, as the branch point itself isn't really a step. –  Monica Cellio Apr 19 '13 at 15:31

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