Book and Template design us

Subject: Book and Template design us
From: Deborah Adair <Deborah_Adair -at- TALIGENT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 1994 12:26:57 -0800

Mail*Link(r) SMTP Book and Template design using WFW
I'm seeking advice about an old project that's come back to haunt me. I have
several hundred 8.5 x 11 pages of existing information in Word for Windows.
It's formatted with a style sheet/template (whatever Word calls them these
days) that's taken on a life of its own. The company now has an additional ~50
pages of unformatted information that needs to be added to this mess. They
always need the finished manuals a month ago, most of the information is
written by engineers, and the editing has always been a rush job. It isn't

Let me add that this "Technical Reference" contains a variety of information
that would be better suited to three completely separate books. In the past,
it has been shipped with tabbed dividers in a three ring binder, primarily due
to the low volume. It must be produced "clean" as some of the books will be
used in a clean room environment. It is sometimes used by customers who speak
minimal English, and is also usually translated-generally at the customers'
expense, sometimes by the readers who speak minimal english.

I'm interested in advice in three areas:

1. Book Design. Does anyone have specific tips about book design for highly
technical, possibly ESL (Japanese) readers? (This information is used by
design and test engineers in the semiconductor industry.) Pointers to good
examples of 8.5 x 11 layouts and references on book design would also be

2. WFW Templates. Does anyone know of a 3rd party book that covers developing
Word templates? I've run into an amazing number of technical difficulties in
the past that I *really* want to avoid. Has anyone had experience moving
existing information into a completely new template? Are there template tricks
that I may have missed? My plan is to develop a separate template for each
piece, as the formatting needs are quite different. (That's why the existing
template has become unmanageable.) Any tips for making the templates easy to
use? They will likely be used by people who are not terribly familiar with
Word. (And yes, I'm stuck with WFW, even though it's a less than ideal tool.)

3. Production. Has anyone had experience with low-volume lay-flat perfect
binding or spiral binding (not wire-o where they punch the holes, they need to
be drilled)? By low volume I mean somewhere around 150 books. Producing the
binders & tabs isn't cheap-I'm wondering if I could argue that breaking the
books apart & changing how they're produced could improve the finished product
at minimal additional cost. Has anyone else had to deal with "clean"
production? Are there other alternatives I don't know about? Anybody familiar
with "printers" in the Bay area that specialize in clean production? (Because
of the volume & page count it's been copied, not printed, in the past.)

Of course, general advice on managing this sort of situation might be helpful
too-in the five years I've been involved with the project, it's seemed to get
more painful each time...

deborah_adair -at- taligent -dot- com

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