Question: Converting Word documents to online help while maintaining conditional text

Subject: Question: Converting Word documents to online help while maintaining conditional text
From: "Holly Steele" <hsteele1 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 14:03:24 -0500

First I would like to thank everyone for your suggestions to deal with
conditional images in Word. What worked best, for now, was overlapping the
images and tagging each image with a character tag.

I have a larger technical difficulty that I would love to get suggestions

The problem:

I am a contract technical writer hired to update some manuals. The company
produces two products, one for forestry and one for agriculture. One manual
was written in RoboHelp for all the modules of both manuals. There are some
sections that are common to both manuals and conditional text for
differences between the two manuals.

The RoboHelp generated two manuals (!SSL! files) with subdocuments. The
generated documents have the specific words and images that are particular
to each manual. Also images are not included directly in the documents. To
keep file size down they were linked by the INCLUDEPICTURE field.

My project is to take the generated documents and create a single Master
document with subdocuments to link the common sections. They want one
document instead of two so that it is easier to make global changes when
necessary. After I create the Word document, I need to create a help file in
Flare from the Word document. It doesn't necessarily have to be Flare. They
just don't want to lose all the features from online help (like being able
to search for a topic etc)

I was planning to use hidden text and templates to make the conditional text
and images work.

I am not sure about the Flare piece. I did some experimenting with Flare
with not much luck. I have some questions

1. Flare seems to import and change styles, would it accept hidden styles?

2. Would the templates transfer over?

3. Would Flare accept images that are linked to image files that are linked
to the document and not inserted directly?

4, Would Flare accept a master document with subdocuments?

I can create the master document and link it and the subdocuments to
templates with hidden styles. I wouldn't want to spend all that time only to
find out that Flare doesn't accept templates or hidden styles.

Has anyone on the list been charged with a similar task: to turn an online
document into a Word document and bring it back to online help? How can I
make Word act like it has conditional text while at the same time making the
document so that I can convert it easily to online help.

I only have about two-and-a-half weeks to create the document with the
updates in this new form. I do not want to have to change all the hidden
tags to conditional tags unless it is a relatively easy project. The manual
is about 365 pages, so this is a big project to manage.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please send your follow-up
directly to my email address as well as the tech-wrl address.



hsteele1 -at- gmail -dot- com

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.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

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