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18 Mar, 2022 08:10 PM

I have no idea why so many software companies claim that user help, blogs, FAQs, and knowledge bases can replace manuals. Manuals have continuous information that, hopefully, is logically arranged. They have chapters and index entries to help navigate. Knowledge bases don't come close to the ease of use and thoroughness of manuals. Manuals have screenshots and diagrams. As Moneydance has gotten more complex and powerful, the ability to easily learn how to use it and get help while using it have declined. If you think your knowledge base is so great, then convert it into a manual. I bet you will find that your knowledge base is very holey.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Ethan on 19 Mar, 2022 11:22 PM

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    In general the organization of our Knowledge Base follows the chapter organization that we used to use for PDF manuals: first with the most basic information about starting up the program, getting one's accounts set up, becoming familiar with registers, etc, then building up to more complex topics. You can see that many entries also have screenshots, links to other relevant articles, and so on. We can also update sections right away, instead of having manuals going slowly and partially out of date, with no indication to the user of what is still current, which was a consistent problem we had with those. Our help system can also suggest relevant pages instantly, which often helps for basic questions.

    Some of the articles could probably use more detail, but the same could be said for our previous user guides. Did you have a specific concern with the information in the knowledge base, or were you just stating your preference?

    Infinite Kind Support

  2. 2 Posted by dwg on 20 Mar, 2022 01:42 AM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    Since around 2017 I have been gathering information on Moneydance and adding it to what can be considered a user guide, initially it was a project for me to learn a new word processor using the old Moneydance 2015 manual converted to text as some raw material to work with but I have kept adding material as it has been added to the knowledge base or reported in the forums and the like.

    If people would like a copy I can post a PDF of it "as is".

    In general I believe that most companies have moved away from manuals as a cost saving measure though many companies say it is about efficiency, timeliness etc.

    Personally I believe there is a place for both formal documents and for less formal information sources like knowledge bases, help files etc.

  3. 3 Posted by dtd on 20 Mar, 2022 02:22 AM

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    Sounds good to me.

  4. 4 Posted by tetrault on 20 Mar, 2022 04:35 AM

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    My concern is that I want a manual. One document. On my computer. With searching, named chapters, and a comprehensive index. A knowledge base is like chopping up a manual, leaving some bits out, having to open one knowledge base file after another, and having no index. I don’t know why you abandoned manuals after 2015.

    The manuals going out of date claim is nonsense. You update the manual when you release a new Moneydance version. I’m not saying you have to dump all other information and help documents. However, a knowledge base could be replaced by links to an online manual—with the suggestion that downloading the manual would be a good idea.

    "You can see that many entries also have screenshots, links to other relevant articles, and so on.”
    What, you wouldn’t put those in a manual? As far as links go, manuals (downloaded or online) can link to additional information just as easily as knowledge base files do.

    There has been a trend for at least a dozen years to eliminate all manuals, not just printed. Companies think they are saving money. Instead, they are pissing off customers who can’t figure out how to do something, wasting time continually adding FAQs, wasting time putting together knowledge bases that are almost as much work as a manual, and resorting to wikis, which are disastrous ways of presenting information about an application. The net result is more work by the company (but spread out over many months instead of a few), more annoyed customers, and customers who switch to another vendor.

    I have experience with manuals in medical labs. All manuals are printed (in case the computers go down). The PDF versions link to information and demos on the lab computer. They also link to the instrument's operation and maintenance documents and videos, the instrument manufacturer’s web site to get detailed help, the reagent manufacturers’ sites to learn about issues such as storage problems, and the quality control manufacturer’s sites. The manuals are cross-referenced because an instrument can do dozens of tests, and it is wasteful to repeat the parts of procedures that all tests have, such as instrument startup. Good manuals are essential to medical labs, and inspectors require them.

    Gregory Tetrault

  5. 5 Posted by alkaprose on 07 May, 2022 09:02 PM

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    I would like to see your pdf, dwg

    Thank you for the offer.

  6. 6 Posted by dwg on 08 May, 2022 01:47 AM

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    This is the current state of the Main document.

    There will not be any gems on Moneydance+ or Direct Connect, neither are supported here.

    I may have missed some changes that have been made in Moneydance. Feel free to make any comments. I've really just been collecting information over the years about the software and its use and trying to put it in some sort of order.

    It is quite large there are lots of screen shots, I could do to compress some further.


  7. 7 Posted by alkaprose on 08 May, 2022 09:44 PM

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    Thank you.

  8. System closed this discussion on 07 Aug, 2022 09:50 PM.

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