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My company just decided to start producing print User Guides and online Help. I've used FrameMaker and RoboHelp before, but never for the same product where files gets converted from one program to the other to produce both online Help and a print User Guide. Now I'm trying to decide which would be the best set of tools to use.
In the past, the company produced 10-20 page documents with lots of pretty pictures. They've been mostly marketing-oriented pieces.
The process so far has been to produce the text in Word, import that into a Quark layout, add screen shots, make PDFs, and send that off to the printer. I did create one .hlp file, composing in RoboHelp 2002r2, but there was no User Guide for that product.
Now the new product manager wants real User Guides (probably 120-150 pages or so) and Online Help (about 100-150 topics). Both will require screen shots and illustrations. The developers want .chm files. The marketing people want to continue having their designer (who is on a Mac) do the layout for the User Guide. Everybody wants me to write them.
For tools, I have Word 2002 SP-1, Photoshop 6, and Robohelp 2002r2 on Windows XP, and the designer has Quark, Distiller, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat (I don't know what versions) on Mac OSX.
We are considering getting two copies of FrameMaker 7, one on PC for me, one on Mac for the designer. The thinking is that the designer and I will work together to create the master pages in FM for the User Guide. I'll create the text, but she'll "clean up the design" and create the PDFs. I'll create all the Help. I'm not confident that they'll buy WebWorks Professional, as has been recommended on this list to use with FrameMaker.
Can anyone offer advice or recommendations? Based on what tools you might recommend, would you say I should compose in the help tool or the word processing tool? What pitfalls do you see looming?
Thanks so much.
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