A readme.txt file is important.  If  someone has problems installing your  program, he will likely look for your readme.txt file for answers.  Examining a readme.txt file is also the easiest way for someone to determine the purpose of a program without starting the program itself.

What Should You Include in a Readme.txt File?

Include any combination of the following in your readme.txt file:

  • Name, version, description, and/or features of the program.
  • System requirements.
  • Install, uninstall, configuration, and operating instructions.
  • Files list.
  • Credit, acknowledgments, contact information, and copyright.
  • Known bugs and a change log.

It is up to you which items you feel would be useful to users of your program, and the level of detail you should provide.

How to Create a Readme.txt File

Like the license agreement file, Create a Software License Agreement, the readme.txt file should be a simple text document.  Create the readme.txt file using a simple text editor, such as Windows Notepad. Every computer should be able to recognize and open a .txt file with a simple text editor.

When you create the readme.txt file, insert carriage returns at the end of each line of each paragraph. That will keep your  text nicely formatted whether or not the user has word wrap turned.

Also, by creating the readme.txt file as a simple text document, it may easily be used as input to other applications. For example, the program I use to create the install wizard for my programs can import the readme text from a simple text document and give the user the option to view the text when the program is installed.

Conclusion

The readme.txt file should identify your program, help the user start using it, and lead him to what to do next if he runs into problems.  Create a readme.txt file that is easy to read with the simplest of text editors.  Remember, the readme.txt file may be the first thing the user reads about you or your program.

Create a Readme.txt File

A readme.txt file is important. If someone has problems installing your program, he will likely look for your readme.txt file for answers. Examining a readme.txt file is also the easiest way for someone to determine the purpose of a program without starting the program.

 

What Should You Include in a Readme.txt File?

Include any combination of the following in your readme.txt file:

 

  • Name, version, description, and/or features of the program.

  • System requirements.

  • Install, uninstall, configuration, and operating instructions.

  • Files list.

  • Credit, acknowledgments, contact information, and copyright.

  • Known bugs and a change log.

 

It is up to you which items you feel would be useful to users of your program, and the level of detail you should provide.

 

How to Create a Readme.txt File

Like the license agreement file, How to Create a License Agreement, the readme.txt file should be a simple text document. Create the readme.txt file using a simple text editor, such as Windows Notepad. Every computer should be able to recognize and open a .txt file with a simple text editor.

 

When you create the readme.txt file, insert carriage returns at the end of each line of each paragraph. That will keep your text nicely formatted whether or not the user has word wrap turned.

 

Also, by creating the readme.txt file as a simple text document, it may easily be used as input to other applications. For example, the program I use to create the install wizard for my programs can import the readme text from a simple text document and give the user the option to view the text when the program is installed.

 

Conclusion

The readme.txt file should identify your program, help the user start using it, and lead him to what to do next if he runs into problems. Create a readme.txt file that is easy to read with the simplest of text editors. Remember, the readme.txt file may be the first thing the user reads about you or your program.

Related posts:

  1. Create a Software License Agreement
  2. Create Your Own Icons
  3. What is Software Deployment?
  4. How to Protect Your Software from Piracy
  5. Should You Create a Windows .EXE Wrapper for Java Programs?

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