Re: Using Word for book publishing

Subject: Re: Using Word for book publishing
From: Donna McManus <donna -dot- mcmanus -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Rick_Bishop <rickbishop -at- austin -dot- rr -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2011 12:41:52 -0400

Rick, can you describe how you did this?

I believe that you've done this, and I once was a government wonk. Had
developed a few documents that were at least 400-500 pages but nothing of
this scope, but see that it is possible. Word has hold in most environment
just because it's perceived to be compatible with everything and it is
perceived that no one needs specialized training to use it. (Worked both for
defense contractors and the state of Ohio.) I'd produced some complex
documents in Word but here are the obstacles I've encountered:

- Size (MB) is a huge obstacle. The bigger the file, the less stable Word
became. (Admittedly, I have not done this beyond Word 2007 so maybe the new
version behaves better..)

- The whole section break scenario is UGLY. When setting up documents with
facing pages or using column formats, the Continuous section break is
difficult if used manually of accidentally deleted.

- Subdocuments only added bloat to the document and it's not a two-way
street with updates to them. (If you update a subdocument within the master,
it doesn't update OR the subdocs bloat the final output -- I'd actually did
a few tests with this about 4-5 years ago with 2003. Creating a final doc
just by inserting files was infinitely safer and smaller than creating a doc
with subdocs -- a 150+ doc without subdocs was hovering around 40K, the
master with subdoc links hovered well over 85K and was unstable--kept

Also, did you distribute a special template to your SMEs?

Admittedly, none of these problems involved SMEs or other content
providers/editors/writers. I would imagine at minimum, you used track
changes or had some method of being able to know who did what and where?

On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM, Rick_Bishop <rickbishop -at- austin -dot- rr -dot- com>wrote:

> Scott: Thou knowest not. I recently completed a gov't client's 1280 page
> manual that had nine levels of headings, 3 different multiple level
> numbering sequences, over 400 illustrations, 300+ tables, tabbed index, and
> footnotes.
> It had 6 different SMEs who all edited it during production (they had
> limited skills to say the least).
> I'm very familiar with the obstacles you mention -- that was in the past.
> Today, in the right hands, Word can dance on the head of a pin.
> Rick
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Turner [mailto:quills -at- airmail -dot- net]
> Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2011 8:32 PM
> To: Donna McManus
> Cc: Rick_Bishop; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Using Word for book publishing
> Yes, you can indeed use Word to produce final layout for a document. You
> can also use Word for large, complex formatted documents.
> In that vein you can also dig the panama canal with 10,000 men using
> shovels
> and no medical support. The end result may be more costly and difficult
> than
> is cost effective.
> Word is not stable with large document files. Word also is challenged if
> you
> need to use multiple level numbering sequences. Word may also exhibit
> instability with paragraph and character tag formatting.
> In short, Word was designed to do short uncomplicated documents. Documents
> like letters, and other business documents.
> It don't even do XML in an adequate manner should that be a requirement,
> because it is inordinately difficult to reference a schema or DTD other
> than
> the one Microsoft embeds in it.
> It is ubiquitous in the business world and in computers which makes it
> convenient, but not necessarily well or even adequately suited for this
> type
> of use.
> Scott

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RE: Using Word for book publishing: From: Rick_Bishop
Re: Using Word for book publishing: From: Donna McManus
Re: Using Word for book publishing: From: Scott Turner
RE: Using Word for book publishing: From: Rick_Bishop

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