Questions about a 600 page manual

Subject: Questions about a 600 page manual
From: Brian Martin <martin -at- sodalia -dot- it>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 11:11:29 +0100

Howdy technical writers:

I have been tasked with updating a manual that I estimate will reach 600
pages in length. The manual is an update to a user manual for just a few
technical users--not more than 2 right now. It is essential, however,
for customer relations reasons that we revise this manual to make it
more user friendly.

The previous example, given the number of users, provided some text
examples, but didn't go very far in the visual area. The plan is for the
manual to provide large numbers of visual examples of how to configure
our end-user tool.

Now for the questions:

Is a 600-page spiral bound manual too big?
Are all those visual examples going to become just a new version of
unusability? I'd guess 3 grey-scall images (GIF to keep size down),
Is it essential to store the images outside the file or can I import
them into the document?
Can Word 97 handle such a document without corrupting the file or
creating enormous strains on my productivity?
I have the option of converting to FrameMaker now. Should I do so
despite the fact that the client has always demanded a copy in Word in
the past? My internal customer says we could deliver in PDF, but my
warning system tells me I'll have to convert later to Word anyway.

Thanks to all for your support,


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