Re: Documentation tools for large documents

Subject: Re: Documentation tools for large documents
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 07:27:25 -0500


I don't know if this is consistent with your workflow (or whether your workflow can be adapted to take advantage of it), but one common way to handle this is with Acrobat..

For a while, Adobe sold a product called Acrobat Business Tools (I believe they've withdrawn it from the market, but you should definitely check.) It was a $79 per person tool that allowed users to add notes and comments to PDFs. If it is no longer available, you have to spend a little more and get everyone a copy of Acrobat.

What you circulate is the PDF. If you don't want to invest in a workflow management solution, you have to overcome three human factors issues. First, you have to teach people to use the tool. Second, you have to get people to behave in a disciplined way with regard to workflow (but apparently they do that now, so it shouldn't be a problem), and you have to get them to write their comments in a particular way. Specifically, when someone pastes a sticky note on a PDF, they have to remember to write "Page 79, paragraph 3," or the equivalent, at the beginning of every comment. (The reason is that you can then generate a summary text file with everyone's comments, rather than opening the PDF and paging through it to examine everyone's comments one by one. Without the page annotations, the comments are hard to decipher.)

The author then works through all the comments after the document has been circulated.

This is MUCH safer than using revision tracking in Word, given the ease with which a Word document can be corrupted as it makes its way around your organization. It has the disadvantage, though, that changes have to be made manually rather than by clicking the Accept button.



Subash Babu wrote:

Hi All,

Our team has been using MS Word for our project documentation. We write Requirements & Functional Specifications for each version of
the product.Due to version control and the co-existence of multiple versions, the document size has increased so much that shipping them via
mail is now a painful job and we have had to use file splitters. Our documents have use-case diagrams, screenshots, tables and call-outs. We use the 'track changes' and 'add comments' features to record review comments and incorporate them. Merging of such documents is also a probable requirement.

Can anyone suggest any other documentation tool which can be used to
perform all the aforesaid functions without increasing the document size substantially?

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Documentation tools for large documents: From: Subash Babu

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