Printing from Word using DocuTech systems

Subject: Printing from Word using DocuTech systems
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 10:29:55 -0400

The user manuals I've produced for two of our products (in Word97 <shudder>)
contain many screenshots, which means they photocopy really badly. We aren't
printing enough copies to make it worthwhile to go with offset printing, so
Docutech seems to be the most likely compromise solution. Since I'm
attempting this for the first time, I'm looking for advice on how best to
prepare the files. I've seen recommendations to send PDF, to send a
Postscript printer file created with a Docutech printer driver, and to
simply send along the Word file and let the printer deal with it (the
recommendation of my current service bureau). I really don't much like the
last option, since there will be considerable unpleasantness if the printer
has a different version of the Windows fonts than the ones we're using--I
don't even want to think about all the problems with line breaks and mangled
symbol characters. Which brings me back to the notion of using PDF or
Postscript instead.

Any tips, warnings, war stories, or suggestions (other than "use a real DTP
program")? I'll be talking to another service bureau today to find out their
specific recommendations for their specific Docutech setup, but I'd like to
have some facts in hand to perform a reality check on the advice I've

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer

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