Re: Technical Writing with InDesign (WAS: Any suggestions for replacing Word)

Subject: Re: Technical Writing with InDesign (WAS: Any suggestions for replacing Word)
From: "David Loveless" <daveloveless -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Peter Gold" <peter -at- knowhowpro -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 08:47:25 -0700

To answer your questions...

> * What drove your decision to adopt InDesign for your technical
> writing requirements?

Like many TW decisions, it was what we used when I hired on. I prefer
InDesign because of its design and layout capabilities.

> * Are you writing in another tool, such as FrameMaker, Word, or
> OoWriter, and importing .doc, RTF or XML content into ID for layout?

Not really, but I will sometimes import a doc into Word for closer
editing (spell checker, grammar checker, find and replace, etc.)
because Word is better than InDesign in this area.

> * Are you writing directly in ID, or using ID's story editor?

See above. Because my documents tend to be somewhat large (range from
10 MB to 25 MB normally), I set my InDesign preferences to reduce
image quality. It makes the program run smoothly. Because of that,
though, some text can be difficult to see, especially italics. If I'm
doing a lengthy bit of writing, I'll often write elsewhere and import.
If not, I'll do it right in InDesign.

> * How do you handle automatic sequential list numbering,
> cross-references, automatic running headers/footers, and conditional
> text?

Master Pages, Indexing tool, etc. etc. InDesign uses many features
that automate these.

> * How are you producing electronic help, and context-sensitive help?

We produce our help using MadCap Flare (will be someday anyway).

> * What's on your InDesign wish list?

Would a Porsche count? I'm sure that if I had the money, I could order
an "Adobe InDesign" edition Porsche Boxster. If that's not possible,
the could add collector InDesign Action Figures. It'd be huge.

Truthfully, I wish InDesign would improve their spell checker. It's
awful. It does not recognize even the most basic technical terms
(e-mail, reconfigure, calibration, etc.). I would also like to find a
way to see facing pages better on non-wide screen monitors. When you
view facing pages without a widescreen, you have to drop the size of
the pages down so far that actually reading and seeing the text
becomes impossible. On a 17 inch monitor, I had to drop down to 67% to
see the pages. I find 20 inch monitors and higher do quite well.


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