Re: Using Word as an Authoring System

Subject: Re: Using Word as an Authoring System
From: Emoto <emoto1 -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2017 16:25:31 -0500

On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 4:11 PM, Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Nov 2017 15:05:14 -0500, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
> wrote:
>
>> At my company, we are drifting away from our old authoring system and
>> moving toward using Microsoft Word.
>>
>> Do you knowledgeable folks have any advice, suggestions, tips, or tricks
>> for me about using Word for product documentation?
>
>
> Maybe some of the troublesome items are fixed by now, but I would suggest:
> - Do not allow your SME to edit the real version of the document. Instead,
> fold in SME's changes (perhaps rewriting them as you go) so that you retain
> your set of rules for "How To Use MS Word With Slightly Less Pain."

One thing done at my place of employment is that "track changes on" is
enforced via the use of password-protected restricted editing. By
this, I mean that nobody gets a doc to edit without tracking turned
on, and they cannot turn it off. This helps to ensure that one can see
everything that changed without having to do a diff on new and old.
They can still display "final" so aren't forced to see the mayhem that
is change tracking.

> - See if you can avoid using Master Documents. AFAIK that trick never works.
> Bullwinkle: "This time for sure!"

THIS. Just say no. Always problematic. This comes under my "keep the
docs simple" admonition. Problems will crop up at the worst times.

Imagine being the guy with a doc containing a field error (instead of
content) who must then try to figure out and track down the missing
content. Of course, the doc was created years ago, nobody knows where
docs are stored ("I think they were on the network somewhere"), and
those who implemented master docs are long gone. Whee!

> - Measure, if just for the fun of it, the amount of time you spend making
> Word work as opposed to the time you are doing other parts of tech writing.
> If it's over 50% consider changing to writing poetry or being a circus clown
> or some other job more pleasant.

Reminds me that after you think you are done with a Word doc, you must
scroll through and verify that the formatting has not changed, e.g.,
things preceded by numbers, like headings, still have their numbers.

Bob
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References:
Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Peter Neilson

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