Re: Word to Acrobat or Robohelp

Subject: Re: Word to Acrobat or Robohelp
From: Bill Hartzer <XBJH%mimi -at- MAGIC -dot- ITG -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 08:41:09 -0500

David (the idiot) Ibbetson just said:

"As I understand Acrobat, with the present release the document has to
opened as a whole. If this is correct you would need to divide your 500
page manuals into small chunks."

Sorry, David, but you're wrong. At least once daily I open files in
Microsoft Word that are more than 3000 (three thousand) pages long.
Originally these files are text files; I open them in Word to clean them
up a little bit (like adding page breaks, etc. and changing the font)
and then I print them to a file (which creates a postscript file). Each
night Adobe Acrobat Distiller 'distills' (converts) these files into
.PDF files and I check them the next day. I've never had a problem with
files that are 3000 pages in length in MS Word. However, keep in mind
that these are basically text files and there's no graphics or other
memory-intensive / graphic intensive fluff in the documents. I'm also
doing all of this on a Macintosh with 72 mb or RAM.

By my estimation, it would take me one business day to convert these 500
page documents into Adobe Acrobat .PDF files. It takes about the same
amount of time to create a .PDF file as it does to print it out on a
printer. Of course, if you chooose to make these documents searchable,
you have to Catalog them. Running Catalog would take about 2 or 3 hours
for a 500 page manual. From my direct experience, it's running the
Catalog program that takes a long time (although it's straight
processing, with no human intervention). The more .PDF files you have
them longer it will take to Catalog and the longer it will take to find
the results of a search (bad for the user). If you combine .PDF files
into less .PDF files everything will run faster.

Just over the weekend I ran Catalog over 5000+ .PDF files (over 150,000
pages of documentation) and it took 18 hours. One month before I had
4950 separate .PDF files which contained 30,000 pages of documentation
and it took 27 hours to Catalog. It didn't take as long to Catalog the
150,000 pages of documentation because I combined 120,000 pages of doc
into 50 separate .PDF files, averaging 2000-3000 pages each.

The bottom line here is that you _CAN_ convert 500 page documents into
.PDF files with no problem. The limitation, however, will depend on
_the amount of RAM you have available_ on the pc or Macintosh you're
using to process the files. Of course, the more ram you have the faster
it'll go.

FYI: Even though I'm pretty fast at converting things from Word to
Robohelp, it'd take _me_ a LOT longer to convert from Word to Robohelp
than it ever would to convert to Acrobat. And 99 percent of the Acrobat
conversion can take place overnight while you're sleeping!

Bill Hartzer Bill Hartzer
Contract Technical Writer President
Texas Instruments, Inc. Highfield Marketing Group, Inc.
Dallas, TX USA Irving, TX USA
xbjh -at- msg -dot- ti -dot- com Highfield -at- aol -dot- com
(214) 575 - 2041 (800) 664 - 3251 toll free
(214) 798 - 2976 voice pager (214) 432 - 0152 fax
"Highfield Marketing Group, Inc. is the proud maker of the CD-ROM
TalentBank(tm), an electronically searchable resume database full of
quality professionals in the computer, high-tech, and technical writing
industries. Never a fee for applicants. Employers and recruiters
can search thousands of resumes electronically on their desktops while
applicants can reach thousands of employers with their resume."

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