Re: Another DITA question

Subject: Re: Another DITA question
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: thatguy_80 -at- hotmail -dot- com
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2007 15:18:54 +0800

Hi Kevin -

I've converted quite a few unstructured documents from FrameMaker and
Word to SGML. I was always alert to the possibility of preprocessing the
source docs and writing conversion macros to try to preserve the
formatting, but in practice I found that it was easier just to save the
smaller docs as plain text and add the *ML tags manually.

This was particularly true for Word docs as the formatting tended to be
more haphazard (manual formats mixed in correctly applied styles).

For larger documents we tried various Save As XML options to get the
content into a sort of generic XML format, then opened the file in
TextPad and used Find/Replace to convert the generic tags to the actual
SGML tags. Word's own XML output was useless for our purposes. We
experimented with opening the Word docs in and exporting
to XML and found that to be promising.

Note that there's a lot more to converting an unstructured document to
DITA than just applying correct DITA tags.

This vendor supports conversion from Word to DITA:

If I understand their price list correctly it would cost you about $2000
to convert three 250-page manuals. I haven't used them myself but you
can get a sample conversion to check the quality of the output.

If you have any questions about the conversion process I use, fire away.

Good luck


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