Walkthrough

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Linux Format writer's templates

Four-page walkthrough tutorial of 12 (or 16) steps

Click here for the template in plain text


1 PURPOSE:
Our tutorials are the most popular part of the magazine. These four-page walkthrough tutorials are particularly practical. Don't be afraid to inject your personality into the text: this is one of the few places in the magazine where we allow the author to refer to themselves as "I".

Before you submit your tutorial, please read it through and check it against this checklist:

  • Project-based
  • Has a clear stated aim at the start (using the title, standfirst and intro)
  • Meets that aim by the end
  • If possible, shows that end result visually (if possible, the final step image should show the finished product, but if not please supply a finished image separately ��perhaps you can use that in the introduction)
  • Active, direct and inspiring headline
  • Active, interesting step titles
  • Illustrations have colour � even grey grabs are well cropped or have coloured desktop surround

2 WORD COUNT:
Choose from:
Introduction: 390 words.
Box: 100 words (or replace with small image if you prefer).
12 x portrait-shaped images (80mmx85mm) with captions of 75 words each.
[this layout is recommended, and is the one used by Dmitry Kirsanov for his Inkscape tutorials.]
OR
Introduction: 700 words.
Box: 100 words (or replace with small image if you prefer).
16 x landscape-shaped images (80mmx55mm) with captions of 55 words each.

Plus two Quick Tip boxes (see Pictures And Boxes, below).

3 LAYOUT:
About footnotes:

  • For tutorials in a series, the redesigned Linux Format uses long, page-wide footnotes to tell readers about what was covered last month and what is coming up next month. If you are writing a one-off tutorial, the layout won't include footnotes, and there is more room on the page. Then, of your four captions on a page, the two on the upper row can be 105 words long and two on the lower row can be 120 words long. If you have chosen the 16-step layout option, please ask someone at Linux Format what the effect of removing footnotes will be.
  • If there's anything you need to point out to design and production staff, label it ///DESIGN NOTE/// and put it IN CAPS at the beginning of the text in square brackets, or at the relevant point in the body if it refers to something like an annotated pic or flow diagram.

4 PICTURES AND BOXES:
You must provide images to accompany each step of the tutorial. These can be plain screengrabs, or annotated 'montages' that you have prepared yourself (see Dmitry Kirsanov's Inkscape tutorials for an example of that).

Notes about images

  • Images should be colour, and 250 DPI. Screengrabs are best sent in PNG format.
  • Please crop all images yourself before submitting them, unless you mark otherwise.
  • All screengrabs should be named appropriately with something relevant to the article's title, numbered sequentially in the order they are to appear in the article if relevant, and all should have a proper caption.
  • For any image to go in the introduction, its caption must be interesting. A good caption contains some titbit of information that has been held back from the body copy. Captions are also usually an appropriate place to exhibit a bit of wit, and it's encouraged!
  • If the images are screengrabs, please make them colour, PNG files and Linux grabs (it sounds obvious, but no Mac or Windows grabs please). If you can't avoid using images of the console, please try to use a colourful text editor or X terminal, and include some of the desktop's colourful background before you crop it.
  • Avoid grabs that have copyrighted images as your desktop wallpaper, or grabs that include images of your pets or children. Also avoid taking grabs of the Linux Format website.

You must also provide two or three Quick Tip boxes. Each box must contain a single tip relating to the software and the tutorial in hand. The total word count can be 20-50 words. Just text, no images.

In addition, please provide a single small image or box for the second page of the tutorial.

  • As I mentioned, this might be a good place to display the finished product if it isn't illustrated in the final step.
  • If the images are screengrabs, please make them colour, PNG files and Linux grabs (it sounds obvious, but no Mac or Windows grabs please). If you can't avoid using images of the console, please try to use a colourful text editor or X terminal, and include some of the desktop's colourful background before you crop it.
  • Avoid grabs that have copyrighted images as your desktop wallpaper, or grabs that include images of your pets or children. Also avoid taking grabs of the Linux Format website.
  • Also consider submitting diagrams or charts. We can redraw them in-house.

Ideas for boxes:

  • A tabulated list of resources or instructions.
  • Essential system requirements.
  • Facts about the product.
  • Background information or history.
  • A mini project.


5 STRUCTURE:

///TOP BAR///
Tutorial Xxx
Where Xxx is the name of the series or, if it is a one-off tutorial, the name of the software/technology being used.

///TITLE///
Please enter the name of the software/technology being used, then a colon, followed by what the reader will do in the tutorial.
eg
Security: Harden your passwords
Greasemonkey: Mod the web!
Inkscape: Design a web page

///STANDFIRST/// Part x: [If it is part of a series] followed by 15-20 words to introduce the tutorial and the author's name. Aim to get across what techniques the reader will learn or be using, and some enthusiasm about the project, and use humour if you like.

///ON THE DVD LOGO/// We try to put most free software used in tutorials on to the LXF coverdisc. Please contact the disc editor as soon as possible to let him know what you are reviewing and where the code is kept online so that he can take a look. Email mike.saunders@futurenet.co.uk.

///FOOTNOTES///
Use these if your tutorial is part of a series:
Last month xxxxx
eg Last month We built a kid-friendly desktop with restricted access and web filters.
If you missed last issue Call 0870 837 4773 or +44 1858 438795.
Next month xxxx
eg Next month We'll bring in data from other sources and try queries and reports.

Also feel free to use footnotes for other external purposes
eg The final site can be viewed at: http://users.churchserve.com/ns/ocastvladimir.

///END FOOTNOTES///

///OUR EXPERT BOX///
///PHOTO///
yourpic.png

If you have written for us recently, we probably have your biographical details already. If not, this is the place where you should write 25-30 words on your background, introducing yourself to the readers and letting them know why you are qualified to write this tutorial!
///END OUR EXPERT BOX///

///INTRODUCTION///
Add tutorial introduction here.

Body copy notes:

  • Any code must be clearly tagged at the start with ///CODE/// and at the end with ///END CODE/// because we format it differently in the magazine. Any indents in code MUST be done with spaces, NOT tabs. A good rule-of-thumb replacement for tabs in pasted-in code is to use two spaces: the code is quite often displayed in quite narrow columns.

///CROSSHEAD///
A one-line title that breaks up the dense text of the introduction

///OPTIONAL BOX///
Optional box notes:

  • If you include pics in a box, include their filename with a ///PIC/// tag, and a caption with a ///CAPTION/// tag, as you would in the body text.

///BOX TITLE///
This should make it clear what the box is about.
eg Resources

///BOX SUBHEAD///
This shouldn't be necessary unless the box title needs embellishing to make sense.

///BOX BODY///
The text of your box.

///BOX CROSSHEAD///
Only necessary for big boxes.

///END BOX///

///OPTIONAL PIC///
yourfilename_number.jpg

///CAPTION///
10-20 words.

///END INTRODUCTION///

///STEPS///
///STEP IMAGE///
yourfilename_number.jpg

///STEP TITLE///
eg 1 Choose your template

///STEP WORDS///
Remember, each step should be 75 (or 55) words long.

///END STEP SECTION///

///COMPULSORY BOX///
///BOX TITLE///
Quick tip

///BOX BODY///
The text of your box.
///END QUICK TIP///

///END BODY COPY///

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