Re: Long Technical Documents

Subject: Re: Long Technical Documents
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 09:56:20 EDT

We set up a series of templates in Word 6.0 for a customer who wanted to use it
for long technical documents and frankly, I'd advise against it. Don't get me
wrong. Word is a terrific tool and I use it every day, but the kinds of
problems we ran into seem to be unavoidable when you try to apply it to
documents that go much beyond 50-60 pages:

1. You can't really use the automated cross-referencing feature effectively.
Word repaginates the entire document, every time you make a link. On one of the
documents, each auto-ref took 20 minutes. Last I heard, the people developing
the template had not found a way to turn that behaviour off.

2. The performance of Master/Subdocuments is dismal. The writers now use single
files and Master/Sub feature is only used when absolutely necessary --
basically, for the final production.

3. Mixing layouts on a page would crash Word once the file started to get to be
big.

FrameMaker is built to handle long technical documents. I'd recommend it as a
much more realistic choice. You can still use Word for drafting parts of the
document, especially if you take the time to synchronize the Word and Frame
stylesheets. But for really putting those docs out, Frame is the product I'd
recommend.

/chet

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Chet Ensign Phone: (908) 771-9221
Director, Electronic Publishing Email: chet -at- lds -dot- com
Logical Design Solutions, Inc. Email(home): censign -at- interserv -dot- com
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