Looking for Specifics of MS Word Weaknesses

Subject: Looking for Specifics of MS Word Weaknesses
From: Harold Lichtin <HalL -at- CCGATE -dot- DRAGONSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 15:51:50 -0500


I've just joined TECHWR-L, and thought that you might be able to provide
some information that will help me make a tool decision.
Basically, I need to know what significant limitations or difficulties I will
encounter if I use Word for Windows 6.0 (rather than FrameMaker 4) to
do programmer's reference and guide documentation.

Here is some background that may help you understand my needs
and considerations: The readers of most of this documentation will, at
least initially, be sophisticated systems and application programmers. We
strongly desire to produce online reference documentation (preferably in
Windows Help format) for the APIs, and want to use a single source to
produce both paper and online docs if at all possible. We would like to
enable the engineers to do online markup and possibly even online
drafting of sections of the documentation.

Many engineers already have Word installed. I (and our other writers)
have both Frame and Word; we have settled on doing our end-user
documentation in Frame and we produce Help using RoboHELP. (We
have ordered a copy of Doc-to-Help, and maybe will get it someday....)

I have not used Word for long documents, but have been warned that it
has significant limitations, particular with respect to indexing and cross
referencing. The Word documentation indicates that these should be
manageable by using a master document-subdocument structure, but I
need to know if this is realistic, and what its limitations are. I also need to
know any other significant limitations that Word may have on doing
documents that are a few hundred pages long.

Similarly, while I do not expect to include a significant amount of graphics
beyond tables and charts (I would include Visio drawings for the latter), I
would like to know what gotchas I would encounter, for example, if I
had to take a Word document and add iconic elements in the margins.

While I'm asking questions, the Doc-to-Help literature claims that it
improved tools for index, cross reference, and table of contents
generation. If I used Word with Doc-to-Help, would the comparison with
Frame change in any way?

Finally, could you please tell me if you know of companies that provide
any of the following filters or converters, and how much hand work is
required to "convert the converted" output into something useful:

Ventura Publisher to Word
Ventura Publisher to Frame
Frame to Word

Thanks in advance for any

Hal Lichtin

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