Re: Word instead of FrameMaker

Subject: Re: Word instead of FrameMaker
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 12:24:52 -0800

At 10:07 AM 1/15/97 +0800, Tan Joo Khim wrote:
>Hi, tech whirlers,
>
>Pls advise on the pros and cons of using Word instead of FrameMaker for
>printed documentation.
>

We, too, use Word almost exclusively for our printed docs, both because
we can export to help and HTML and because most of the input we receive
is in Word and in ASCII format. With all the other tasks involved in
delivering documentation to the customer, that additional translation
to Frame for printed docs just doesn't make sense. And yes, we do have
Frame 5 in house.

The only drawback, IMO, is the inability to create cross-document
references; a drawback we get around by using section names rather
than page numbers in cross references.

With a good template design and a little planning, Word will serve
you well. We routinely publish documents of 500 pages or more using
Word following these guidelines:

* Create each chapter in a separate document. Manually set the chapter
number for automatic section numbering (if you use section numbers)
and for folio-style page numbering (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc.)

* Create an "include" document in which you reference each of the
chapter documents with RD fields (see Insert>Field>Index and Tables).
This will be the document from which you generate the TOC and index.
If the TOC that's generated from headings is not to your liking, you
can use imbedded codes (.c.) to customize the output.

* I find Word tables much easier to manipulate than Frame tables;
however, it's a task you need do only once. Set up the table to
your liking (including borders, fonts, paragraph spacing, etc.,
then store an empty table of two or three rows in autotext. Call
it table and store it in normal.dot or your custom doc template.
Then type 'table' and press F3 every time you want a table in your
docs. You can even store multiple shells for tables of two, three,
and four columns.

Additionally:
You can use Words autoformat feature to rid yourself of hard returns
at the end of each line for input that comes to you by e-mail.

You avoid grappling with Frame's brain-dead attempts at hyphenation
and widow/orphan protection. ;-)

Word has a more full-featured replace feature (for example, in Frame,
you can search for a paragraph tag but you can't replace it with another
paragraph tag. In Word, you can find a specific character formatting
within a specific paragraph style and replace it with a character
style or other hard formatting. It's much more flexible.).

In Word, you can use the outline feature to rearange a document. When
you view a doc in outline mode and move a heading up or down, any text
and headings collapsed underneath it automatically move and renumber
as well. Frame doesn't even come close to having functionality like
this.

In short, you're not alone. There are plenty of us who've made the
same decision and find that it works quite well. If you have any
questions, feel free to contact me off-list.

Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com
-- The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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