Re: Lots of figures and diagrams

Subject: Re: Lots of figures and diagrams
From: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 15:02:51 -0700

Tanya is using Mac:Word 2011 - that means, No VISIO, crippled OLE handling,
and I'm sorry, no editing in place for anything with greater resolution than
PowerPoint diagrams. (Thanks to those who suggested PowerPoint. At least
you're paying attention.)

Tanya, I feel your pain. Since I switched to Mac two years ago, I've had
nothing but problems with running anything I was used to using on Windows.
I'll explain later.

You have two options, which I've found work really well:

1) Create your composite images using OmniGraffle. Even if the bulk of your
work uses bitmap images, import them into Graffle. All versions of Word do
not display bitmap images (PNG, GIF, JPG) in draft view; however, once
they're imported into another program and then imported into Word, they
magically appear. Use a Graffle template to size them to fit your document,
add labels and markings, and export them as PDF files. Then embed the PDF
images into your Word doc. I've tried linking to external files, but the
images don't update. I haven't a clue why. Blame Apple/Microsoft
competition.

2) Run Windows 7 and Office 20xx for Windows in a virtual machine. I have a
separate system running in Oracle (formerly Sun, formerly Innotek)
VirtualBox. I LOVE IT. All the MS Word for Windows features you're used to,
including full OLE support, and best of all, preserved hyperlinks and linked
bookmarks from headings in PDF export. Even in a Mac environment, this would
be my workspace by choice, if the company insisted on MS Office. I don't
have time to fight the Apple/Microsoft war, so I would choose to do as
Microsoft does as best as I can, while on a Mac.


As to the benefit of embedding Visio objects rather than linking to external
files: There is something to be said for keeping all the content in
separated chunks. If there is a lot of reuse, then the same graphics could
be shared between different topic files. Unfortunately, OLE is only as smart
as OLE does. In a previous company, we used Visio ShapeSheets to generate
different drawings based on code and layer visibility--One drawing to create
them all! Sadly, updating the visible layers for one document changed it for
all the others, so we returned to embedding directly in to the document.

Also, the Senior Tech Writer before me had built a smooth review workflow
that required each document to contain all imported images. Linking to
external media would have broken the review copies.

I eventually streamlined the workflow so that I created a single-source
image as a layered Visio graphic, then copied only the visible layers into
an empty Visio object embedded into a document. This allowed for the concept
of single sourcing yet met the requirements of my friend's workflow.

-Tony
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References:
Lots of figures and diagrams: From: Tanya Spackman
Re: Lots of figures and diagrams: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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