Re: Thoughts on Acrocheck?

Subject: Re: Thoughts on Acrocheck?
From: "Julie Stickler" <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Lynn <doc -dot- writer -at- istar -dot- ca>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 14:45:33 -0400

On 2/2/07, Lynn <doc -dot- writer -at- istar -dot- ca> wrote:
> My company is currently looking into Acrocheck by Acrolinx
> (

I'm a little behind on my mail, but wanted to reply to you, because
I'm part of the pilot team for acrocheck at my company. For those on
the list - acrocheck is a writing tool that checks spelling, grammar,
style, and terminology. And you can cofigure it to check your
company's Style Guide or industry terminology.

Acrocheck has client plug-ins for different authoring tools. Our
pilot group has the plug-ins for Word, FrameMaker, a batch client that
we're using with RoboHelp, and we also have an Epic client, for our
eventual move to DITA. I've mostly been working in FrameMaker, and I
love the fact that acrocheck uses conditional text to flag errors. It
makes it very easy to go through a document and see what needs to be
revised. And when you close the file, acrocheck automatically deletes
its conditional text, so you cannot accidentally publish it.

I've recently started working in RoboHelp with the batch client. This
client is not nearly so elegant (no conditional text), but is still
quite usable.

Our biggest pain points so far have been getting the terminology
checking configured the way we want it. Out of the box the spelling,
grammar, and style checking is pretty straight forward. Installing
the client is easy, and you can start checking right away. (I can't
comment on installing the server portions, but I haven't heard our
server guru complaining yet.) But we really wanted to take advantage
of the terminology features. We've recently undergone a lot of
changes to naming conventions and our style guide, and we want to
purge terms we no longer use from our documentation.

Configuring the terminology features of acrocheck is not as easy as
your salesman may lead to you believe. Our very experienced editor
has been having trouble figuring out some of the features (and in some
cases has been flat out told that X doesn't work yet, but will in the
next release). To compound our troubles, Acrolinx changed the way
some of the terminology rules work between release 3.0 and 3.1.1, so
we've had to redo some of the work that we'd already finished.

>From an end user perspective, the biggest adjustment was getting over
my own ego. I used to think that I was a lean, mean writing machine.
But that was before acrocheck started pointing out my many errors. The
most commonly flagged error for our group is definately "sentence too
long." followed shortly by use of future tense and modal verbs. Once
I got over my shock at the number of errors acrocheck was finding in
my writing, I realized that I had an opportunity to learn from my own
mistakes. It is really wonderful to get immediate editorial feedback
(daily if I want it) on what mistakes I'm making, and how to correct

>From my perspective, it's a great tool. Even partially implemented,
I'm quite happy with the improvements that I've been able to make in
my writing. But then again, my manager recently called me "The poster
child for acrocheck."

(And yes, the product name is lowercase...)

Julie Stickler
Senior Technical Writer

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

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
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