New Software Recommendations/Ideas

Subject: New Software Recommendations/Ideas
From: "Hill, Leo" <Leo -dot- Hill -at- kci1 -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 11:20:30 -0500

I'll admit that I only did a cursory search of the message archive for this question... I didn't find anything specific to this, so please forgive if this has recently been answered.

Our company employs six full time TechWriters here in the US. We have one Technical Author in the UK. Our UK guy is mostly an independent entity. He has been using Adobe Creative Suite (CS2) for some time. The document style that he has been producing has caught the eye of our US marketing folks and they would like us to adopt his overall "look".

Here in the US we are using Framemaker and CorelDraw as our primary creative software. We use Acrobat to produce prepress PDF's that our printer uses to produce our dead tree manuals, labeling and other technical literature.

We've just been through a round of computer upgrades and our manager has asked if we want to budget for any software upgrades in 2007?

The tentative answer is that we all would like to migrate our work to CS2. The company is more than willing to spend the money for the software and some extensive training so we can utilize the various features in CS2. So there are no issues there.

But before we writers say "Yeah, let's go for it" we would like to pick your collective brains and see if there is any other software suite besides CS2 that we should look at and/or demo before we tell management what we want to do?

And before anyone says to stick with Frame - we writers (US) have all agreed that we want to move away from that platform so we can more easily reproduce the look that the UK guy is doing.

So two specific questions:

1. Do you know/intuit if CS2 is becoming the 'standard' software suite for producing modest sized illustrated manuals (about 150 pages max) and small QRG's?

2. Is there a software suite that should be looked at as an alternative to CS2?

Thanks for your insight and opinions.

Leo Hill
Senior Technical Writer V.A.C.
KCI R&D San Antonio

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