Re: Creating a Documentation Kit

Subject: Re: Creating a Documentation Kit
From: Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 11:53:27 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Cara,

I have a few thoughts for you, specifically about Word

Maybe I'm underestimating the business world in
general, but I'd venture a guess that 95 percent of
the people who use Word don't know anything about
using or applying templates. We tech writers know all
too well how fickle Word can be, and when you toss in
a template, things can get really troublesome. Because
Word is the most prevalent word processing
application, I understand that you must use it. But as
you proceed, try to reduce the room for error as much
as possible.

So, the first thing I'd do is verify that every style
in the template has the "Automatically Update" option
deselected. Doing so ensures that when someone changes
the formatting for a particular paragraph, the
underlying style (and all of the paragraphs already
formatted with that style) will remain unchanged.

Because most of the contributors are not writers, I'd
suggest providing as much structure for them as
possible. Maybe the template contains a series of
tables, and the contributors enter information only in
designated cells. Or maybe you can create "forms" (or
whatever they're called in Word), in which you
write-protect all areas except those fields in which
the contributor enters text.

Hope that helps. Sounds like you've got your work cut
out for you.

Steven Brown
Senior Technical Writer

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Creating a Documentation Kit: From: Cara O Sullivan

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