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Introduction > Conventions Used in This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

To help you get the most from this book, special conventions and elements are used throughout.

Text Conventions

Various text conventions in this book identify terms and other special objects. These special conventions include the following:

Convention Meaning
Italic New terms or phrases when initially defined.
Monospace Information that appears in code or onscreen, or information you type.
Command sequences All Windows book publishers struggle with how to represent command sequences when menus and dialog boxes are involved. In this book, we separate commands using a comma. Yeah, we know it's confusing, but this is traditionally how Que does it, and traditions die hard. So, for example, the instruction “choose Edit, Cut” means that you should open the Edit menu and choose Cut.
Key combinations Key combinations are represented with a plus sign. For example, if the text calls for you to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, you would press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time.

In this book's reference lists, which describe the syntax and use of programming statements and objects, the following conventions are used:

Convention Meaning
boldface() Text and symbols in boldface are to be typed literally.
italic Italics indicate names and values to be replaced by your own data.
[options] Square brackets indicate optional items that are not required. The brackets are not to be typed in.
{choice A | choice B} Parentheses and the vertical bar (|) indicate items from which you make a choice of one alternative.
item [, item…] Ellipses (…) indicate items that may be repeated as many times as desired.

Special Elements

Throughout this book, you'll find reference lists, patterns, tips, notes, cautions, sidebars, and cross-references. These items stand out from the rest of the text so that you know they're of special interest.


Describe the syntax and usage of programming statements, object properties and methods, and command-line programs.


Patterns show how to solve a particular programming problem in a way that you can use in many situations. They provide a general-purpose way of going about some computing task.


Tips give you down-and-dirty advice on getting things done the quickest, safest, or most reliable way. Tips give you the expert's advantage.


Notes are visual “heads-up!” elements. Sometimes they just give you background information on a topic, but more often they point out special circumstances and potential pitfalls in some Windows features.


Pay attention to cautions! They could save you precious hours in lost work.


Cross-references are designed to point you to other locations in this book (or other books in the Que family) that provide supplemental or supporting information. Cross-references appear as follows:

→ For more information on Hollerith cards, see “Learning to Love the Keypunch,” p. 47.


Sidebars are designed to provide information that is ancillary to the topic being discussed. Read this information if you want to learn more details about an application or task.

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