Feasibility of WinWord for a large pjt

Subject: Feasibility of WinWord for a large pjt
From: GERALDINE WHITT <GenWhitt -at- PRODIGY -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 19:13:56 -0500

I have a large project (700-page manual) which was created in Ventura
Publisher. It has approx. 35 chapters and includes around 350 PCX
files.

The on-line help for the same project is done in Word. For the
Windows version help text, we are using RoboHelp.

I am about to do the manual for the Windows version. My client would
like me to convert the manual from Ventura to WinWord so that the
same source can be used for printed documentation and on-line help.

My primary concern is whether it is really feasible to use Word for
such a large documentation project. I have spent quite some time on
the phone with Microsoft support but I'm not really satisfied with
the results. I would really like to hear of practical experiences
from other tech writers on this.

Microsoft told me that I would have to bring all files together in
order to have page numbering throughout and a publication table of
contents and index. Their maximum Word file size is 32 MB so, since
10 PCX files added to a document add approximately 1MB (by
experimentation) I conclude that with 350 PCX files, this would not
be possible. I also know, though, that there's a workaround to most
problems.

Both Microsoft technicians that I spoke to started out by telling me
that I could do it and ended up by telling me that I couldn't.

I would really appreciate:

a) any specific experience/data, positive or negative, on creating or
maintaining large manuals which include lots of graphics, in WinWord

b) any other suggestions/data on alternative solutions, given that
the problem I am trying to solve is one source for doc and help -
maximum efficiency without reducing the effectiveness of either the
written documentation or the on-line help text.

Gen Whitt
La Crescenta, CA

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