RE: Moving away from MS Word?

Subject: RE: Moving away from MS Word?
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: 'SB ' <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2007 10:58:37 -0400

On Behalf Of SB said
> Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 06:30
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Moving away from MS Word?
> Thank you for all the feedback.
> I am also wondering about Master Documents in MS Word. I hear this tool is
> much better now.
> So how do I start investigating this?
> 1. Remaining with Word and use Master Documents? Possibly getting
> someone deisgn a stable template? What about "single sourcing"?
> 2. Moving onto FrameMaker - it is a relatively serious transition,
> which will probably be true for any new tool.
> 3. AutorIT?
> 4. HATT - not sure what that it
> 5. Arbotext - too expensive
> 6. Dita?
> 7. Other tools?
> And then I understand that XML is now the growing trend. How does it
> relate
> to documentation?

I haven't seen the whole thread... is there a reason that is
not high on that list?

The price is right.
It can be running on your desktop twenty minutes from now.
It makes good use of styles - emphasizing that as the default way of
formatting and organizing.
It's perfectly happy with BIG documents - doesn't show any strain at all.
It uses XML under-the-hood.
It imports Word documents, and exports to Word format (if desired) with very
good fidelity (with respect to formatting - some people say it can trip a
little if presented with complex table embedding and a few other arcane bits
of formatting in Word documents... but then so will Word if you don't know
precisely what you are doing). And it never loses data.
Its own natural document format is an open standard that will always be
It's available for Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, etc., so you have the same
interface and features no matter which OS you happen to have booted at the
moment... and it costs NOTHING (except the hard disk space) to have a copy
of OpenOffice on every machine that you use and ever OS on multi-boot
It does good PDF creation, with no need for add-ons. But if you've already
got Acrobat, you can use that if you prefer. (*see below)
The most popular support is high-volume mailing lists that are active
twenty-four hours per day, with lots of extremely knowledgeable and helpful

Development is open and proceeds at a rapid pace, yet testing is
comprehensive and thorough. This means that you can suggest a new feature or
functional change and see it implemented within months. Ask yourself, when's
the last time that happened with Word.

* I do all our docs for certain product lines, but we'd rearranged our
procedure a bit so that the QA department accepts the Customer Release Notes
from me, as a Word file, and makes any last-minute changes that come out of
their final-test environment (because this occurs weeks after I've finished
the main doc-set, and why have me wrench my head back to (what for me is)
historical stuff for just a tweak or three in one ten-page doc). Then they
publish to PDF and upload to our website. This meant they needed Acrobat, so
they have one license. Sometimes the guy who "owns" that license is away,
and it's a pain to have them send the doc back to me just to make a PDF. So
I suggested that they install OpenOffice and use that. They're quite
Next, I'll broach the option of delivering my CRN and other docs in
OpenOffice .odt files, instead of Word .doc files... since I already do most
such docs in OpenOffice and convert to Word at the last minute anyway. :-)

I was going to say that it can be a chore to clean up submissions from SMEs,
reviewed docs, etc., in Word, because of all the ways that people can find
to mess up Word documents. But that would be just as true if I was still
working a lot in Word, myself.


The information contained in this electronic mail transmission may be privileged and confidential, and therefore, protected from disclosure. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to this message and deleting it from your computer without copying or disclosing it.

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: Feedback requested: What doc format do your customers require?
Next by Author: RE: "Standard" browsers?
Previous by Thread: RE: Moving away from MS Word?
Next by Thread: Re: Moving away from MS Word?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads