RE: Format overrides; was: RE: Top 10 mistakes unstructured FrameMaker Users make

Subject: RE: Format overrides; was: RE: Top 10 mistakes unstructured FrameMaker Users make
From: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 09:04:20 -0400

You were given a large Frame document whose formatting had been messed
up by the unskilled hands that passed it around. The solution was to
reduce the whole thing back to plain text, and then reapply styles
correctly.

How is that different from a Word document whose formatting has been
messed up by the unskilled hands that pass it around?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Neeley
> Sent: Friday, March 26, 2010 2:31 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Format overrides; was: RE: Top 10 mistakes
> unstructured FrameMaker Users make
>
> One of my all-time pet peeves involves writers who override
> styles to "clean up" formatting issues. The result is a
> document that is an incredible mess in trying to update later.
>
> I once had a document to update that was several thousand pages long.
> It had gone through *many* successive tech writers (using
> that term generously) -- apparently, each of whom had done
> their own formatting of individual elements until the result
> was an atrocious mess -- impossible to produce without numerous
> hard to find errors. Even page headers and footers were often
> the product of individual formatting.
>
> In the end, believe it or not, the most time-efficient method
> was to reduce the whole mess to text and reformat it from top
> to bottom, as it was a key document updated and re-released
> every six months for a product expected to last fifteen to
> twenty more years.
>
> The final result was a completely clean Frame doc that
> reproduced flawlessly, with page numbers, headings, TOC, and
> the rest all autogenerated correctly after any alterations.
>
> As a result, I became rather adamantly opposed to the "ad hoc"
> formatting so common by the clueless.
>
> Even worse, though, is the usual situation with Word. Docs
> which must be touched by multiple people rarely have a
> reasonable style setup.
> Word is entirely too willing to create new styles on the whim
> of anyone working with it. Documents that are circulated for
> critique or which have multiple authors are often incredibly
> messed up in the styles department--and, again, getting
> everyone on board to using styles throughout (let alone the
> same set of styles) is somewhat asking to trying to teach a
> three-legged person to do the two-step without it inevitably
> turning into a waltz...
>


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References:
Format overrides; was: RE: Top 10 mistakes unstructured FrameMaker Users make: From: David Neeley

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