Responses: Online Editing with FrameMaker

Subject: Responses: Online Editing with FrameMaker
From: Melissa Womack <mwomack -at- csc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 14:59:25 -0600

Someone requested that I summarize the responses I got on this topic.

My original request:
We are in the process of converting our hard-copy manuals from Word to
FrameMaker. However, we don't want to lose Word's comments and track
changes functionality. We have an extensive review process where reviewers
make comments directly in our documents. Does anyone use a similar type of
online editing process using FrameMaker that is comparable to what Word
allows? I know we can purchase plug-ins to track changes, but we were
hoping to avoid additional costs at first. Another option we've discussed
is converting our docs to Word or RTF format for the reviews. Any info. or
suggestions would be much appreciated.

Suggestions (fyi, we chose the first option):

1 --with Acrobat Professional 7, you can enable PDFs for commenting in the
free Acrobat Reader 7.0. If you would like to see how this works, a sample
FM document converted to PDF and enabled for commenting in Reader is
available at (78K)

2 -- Sounds to me like it's time for you to check out WebWorks FinalDraft.
It's a method for allowing reviewers to access files developed w/FrameMaker
and for you [writer] to track updates: tracking just can't be done in the
FrameMaker docs directly.

3 -- I just wanted to warn you about a couple of problems we had converting
FM files to RTF:
Graphics in the resulting RTF seem to lose sharpness. This was just a
minor annoyance for us, because we knew the graphics in FM were fine.
However, it caused some angst among some of our reviewers. (It was
not a show stopper, though.)
Page references in FM seem to convert as fields in the RTF. However,
FM does not seem to be able to establish the target for the reference
within the field. So, updating the fields in the RTF generated errors
or removed the entire reference. This caused a lot of confusion and
made the reviews difficult.
Before we switched from Word to FM last year, we researched different ways
to distribute docs to our reviewers. We finally settled on distributing
PDFs so that reviewers could use Acrobat's commenting feature. This has
worked out fine, with one exception where a few reviewers did not have
Adobe Acrobat. We thought we could convert to RTF for the reviewers without
Acrobat. Because of the reasons above (especially the field issue), it was
not ideal. Those reviewers now have Acrobat.


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