TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Shauna Iannone reports: <<In test documents, and occasionally others, I've
found a need to have multiple items in a section share a single number, with
one set dependent on the other. For example, a specific test case in a test
plan is numbered for reference by other docs (e.g. "1.5.3"); the boilerplate
specific to the test case, the table containing the action steps and
pass/fail signoffs for that test case, and sometimes optional reference
figures and risk assessment sections are all numbered to match, since they
aren't always together spatially. As the doc is expanded during its
development, the numbering will be shuffled several times. I have
autonumbering covering one piece, and I want the dependent, matching numbers
to auto-update with them.>>
I imagine you could trick up something using reference fields, but that's
beyond my expertise. Hopefully someone on techwr-l can provide details for
automating this approach.
My more Luddite approach would be to ditch autonumbering and come up with a
manual numbering system that's independent of the chapter and section
numbering in your documents. For example, call your first two examples "Test
case 1" and "Test case 2", no matter what chapters they appear in, and don't
worry about the numbering matching the section at this point. Track these
numbers in a separate file to make sure you don't assign the same number
twice. When the major reshuffling of the document is complete, simply do a
search and replace: "Test case 1" becomes "Test case 1.5.3" if that's where
it eventually ends up, and so on. I use this approach effectively for
assigning help topic IDs, so I'll always know which section of the software
is associated with which range of IDs.
The most obvious problem with this approach is that if you forget to do that
final search and replace, the document goes out with the test cases numbered
out of sequence. For example, what you originally called "Test case 17" may
now appear in chapter 2.5.3 while "Test case 2" appears in chapter 17.5.3,
well after chapter 2. Including cross-references to headings or providing a
table of test cases makes it easy to look up the page numbers for these test
cases. So long as you've kept the numbers clear and distinct, you won't have
any problem with overlapping numbers, and readers will still be able to
refer to the correct test cases. That's the most important thing anyway,
--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
Order RoboHelp X3 in December and receive $100 mail in rebate, FREE WebHelp
Merge Module and the new RoboPDF - add powerful PDF output functionality
to RoboHelp X3. Order online today at http://www.ehelp.com/techwr-l
Check out SnagIt - The Screen Capture Standard!
Download a free 30-day trial from http://www.techsmith.com/rdr/txt/twr
Find out what all the other tech writers, including Dan, already know!
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.