Re: Using Word as an Authoring System

Subject: Re: Using Word as an Authoring System
From: Chris Morton <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 08:58:11 -0500

*HELP! (I Need Somebody...)* â My best advice regarding Word is to know
where to go when you need an immediate answer to a perplexing problem.

The WORD PC listserv run out of Liverpool is excellent; MVP Suzy Davis is
an outstanding contributor.

Next, check out the Shauna Kelly website: https://www.shaunakelly.com/

Then there is the Word section at Windows Secrets Lounge:
https://windowssecrets.com/forums/forumdisplay.php/20-Word-Processing


*STYLES & TEMPLATES* â As others have suggested, the biggest thing is to
create your own company's approved styles within a template, then lock down
said template at the admin level. Otherwise a situation might ultimately
occur whereby a user is prompted to save a new template file. Not knowing
the diff. between a document and a template (the prompting dialog box looks
pretty much the same), the user blithely clicks [OK].

And others want to quibble with me over this, but I strongly recommend that
you DO NOT use the Normal style (different than the Normal template), nor
should you base anything on that style. See
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wrangling-word-unwieldibeast-chris-morton-/

*FILE FORMAT* â Within your company, I'd think that the platform (OS) and
version of Word wouldn't be an issue; it can be problematic elsewhere.
Stick with the XML-based .DOCX file format, rather than yesteryear's
M$-proprietary .DOC file format.

*NEW EXPLOIT* â As you may recall, DDE (and OLE) is the feature that lets
one embed things like an Excel spreadsheet in Word, et al. Updating
numerical data in one app automatically does the same in the other.

There is a new exploit that leverages a DDE (dynamic data exchange)
vulnerability. I saw an example whereby Word automatically ran a Powershell
script that further infected the demo machine. It freaked me out. I
understand it's been patched for the latest Windows and Word updates, but
that doesn't cover everyone (like me, running Word 2013 on Windows 8.1).
Workaround patches exist.

*TIP*: A DOCX file can be unzipped using PKUNZIP, et al. This can be useful
when someone has embedded a graphic in a DOCX and you want to do something
with it independently. Unzipping the DOCX yields all of its components.

Chris Morton
(click logo â for details)

<https://www.the-efa.org/memberinfo/chris-morton-10670/>
â Substantive Editing â Technical Writing â Proofreading
â B2B/B2C â Marketing Expertise â Mentoring



On Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 8:09 AM, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
wrote:

> Some upper management sees no reason to use Flare. You know the argument,
> "Just use Word."
>
> While I could gather my resources and arrange a meeting and maybe persuade
> The Powers That Be to keep Flare, this is not where I want to concentrate
> my energy.
>
> This is not the hill I want to die on. There are other battles to be
> fought. Shrug.
>
> Besides, I use Word only as a building block. Then I copy and paste into
> our online knowledge base.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:
> techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of
> Steve Wiseman (ContextEngage)
> Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 2:56 AM
> To: 'Nathaniel Wilson' <nwilson120 -dot- nw -at- gmail -dot- com>; 'Gene Kim-Eng' <
> techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
> Cc: 'TechWhirl' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: Using Word as an Authoring System
>
> 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
RE: Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Steve Wiseman \(ContextEngage\)
RE: Using Word as an Authoring System: From: Cardimon, Craig

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