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I use Word 5.0 on the Mac almost exclusively, and have been using
Word for about 7 years now. I've used it to do everything from
newsletter mock-ups to 500-page manuals. Although there are quite
a few things about it that I dislike, or that make it difficult
to do serious documentation, it's not bad.
As far as Word bogging down on large docs, it will when the size of
an individual file gets too large (maybe 400K or so). Mostly this
is a result of I/O in reading in the large file and RAM to work with
the file in.
One way to stop Word from bogging down is to break the document
into smaller pieces. For example, a 500-page manual that has 10
50 page chapters can become 10 files. This makes editing faster,
since you are loading much smaller files, and are able to tell
from the file name which one you need to load. The ToC, Index,
and other functionality all will automatically track page numbers
for you across files and keep them in synch for you.
The only glitch is that if one of these individual chapter files is
printed by itself, sometimes it "forgets" that the first page in
the file is not "1" but (for example) "51". This is a minor
inconvenience that only manifests itself during editing and revising.
I like using Word for editing, and for reasonable-sized documents.
If the product could handle lists of figures and cross-references,
I don't think I'd wonder about FrameMaker and other tools. But, since
it doesn't, and since it doesn't let us do a few layout things we'd
like to be able to do (easily, that is), we're considering Frame.
michael -dot- salsbury -at- cyberlink -dot- beaver -dot- pa -dot- us
The above comments are mine, and should not be construed as
coming from my employer (Treehouse Software, Inc.).