RE: Using Word as an Authoring System

Subject: RE: Using Word as an Authoring System
From: "Steve Wiseman \(ContextEngage\)" <swiseman -at- contextengage -dot- com>
To: "'Nathaniel Wilson'" <nwilson120 -dot- nw -at- gmail -dot- com>, "'Gene Kim-Eng'" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 09:55:53 +0200

Well, I didn't think I would see a discussion like this :)

It's all a question of horses for courses. If you need only PDFs, no variables, no conditional text, no content reuse, a non topic-based solution (instead your docs run from start to end) - then Word is applicable. That use case is becoming less and less popular but it exists. I have customers that have massive pieces of hardware and send books to their customers and Word works fine for them.

But once a customer needs online, reuse or any of the features above, you are going to need a more professional and focused tool for technical writers. Which tool again depends on what you need.

I am against overkill and just taking tools because of their name and reputation. You should ideally have a matrix of needs and tick which tools hit the most features you need, in relation to price.

But I would recommend against using Word with some plugin or conversion tool for the added functionality. Always a tool with addons will be less integrated and effective that a tool with the features you need built in.

Good luck!

Best regards,
Steve Wiseman, CEO, ContextEngage | http://www.contextengage.com
Isr +972-522-341-957
Official Paligo Resellers
To arrange a quick 15 minute intro call with me, Click here

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+swiseman=contextengage -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+swiseman=contextengage -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Nathaniel Wilson
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 11:02 PM
To: Gene Kim-Eng
Cc: TechWhirl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)
Subject: Re: Using Word as an Authoring System

Hi Craig,

I have been using Microsoft Word to create documentation for a few months, since I landed my new gig creating SOPs for a telecommunications company.
Microsoft Word isnât the best thing to use, but not bad either. I think it all depends on what type of documentation you need it for. The straightforward instructional guides that I create and that are shared on the Intranet really donât need anything more than Microsoft Word, so itâs fine.

Here are some of my best tips:

-

Screenshots are fairly easy to capture- I recommend saving the images on
PowerPoint (if you have it) before copying and pasting them into your
document. This way, you can add arrows or circles to highlight certain
areas in the screenshot.
-

To move a screenshot around on a page, right click on it and select
Format Picture. Then click on the Layout tab. Selecting Behind or In Front
Of Text will allow you to move an image around as you like. Clicking on the
Advanced button and then choosing to place the image in line with the text
or placing your text above and below the image will cause the screenshot to
be fixed in a given location.
-

If youâre creating steps, I recommend using the number formats and
bullets at the top of the screen. I number all of the steps in my documents
and use bullets for all information that is not a step for the user to
take. Also, I make use of indentation to differentiate things in my
documents.

Thereâs more that I could share, but this is good for a start. Hope it helps.

-Nathaniel

On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 3:58 PM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:

> Consistency is essential. The DTP tools that are the most popular with
> tech writers tend to impose consistency through their structure. Word
> doesn't do that, so you have to do it yourself. Not just yourself, but
> across your entire organization. And make sure that nobody outside the
> documentation group ever gets to edit or even open any of your Word files.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>
> On 11/28/2017 12:05 PM, Cardimon, Craig 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?
>>
>
>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Nathaniel Wilson

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