Re: word to html or pdf?

Subject: Re: word to html or pdf?
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 13:25:56 -0600

> > A client wants to put their policy manual on the internet/intranet.
> > Their primary focus will be hardcopy, but they also want it to be
> > available and searchable online. It's a very simple layout, with short
> > sections of Title, Description, and Policy.
> >
> > They want to maintain it in Word, with little fuss. I'm not looking
> > for tools to use (I've found many good suggestions in the archives),
> > rather which route to take (HTML or PDF).

Things to consider:

Software -- Are you developing the online product and then turning over
to the client, with the expectation that the client will do maintenance?
If so, all parties will have to buy Acrobat software to create PDF
files. OTOH, if the client already has Word, they can save Word files as
HTML without buying new software.

Design -- PDF files give you total control over the design of the
finished problem -- the PDF document will look like the Word document.
HTML has design
limitations. But this may not be an issue.

Updates -- PDF files are "dead." The only way to update a PDF file is to
re-create it from scratch or create new PDF files of updated pages, then
insert them into the existing PDF file (this requires Acrobat Exchange).
HTML can be updated at any time using a text editor such as WordPad.

Again, this may not be an issue if your client insists on updating in
Word. Updating the Word file and saving it as HTML is just as much work
as updating the Word file and saving it as a PDF (in most cases). Either
way, there will be some fuss!

File size -- PDF files are larger than HTML files.

I personally have not been thrilled with the results when saving Word
files as HTML. If the creator of the orignial document used styles, you
may be OK. But if they did things like using hard returns to space
between paragraphs instead of building it into the paragraph style, Word
sticks some extra garbage in there.

Good luck with whatever you decide
Tracy Boyington mailto:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Dept. of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, OK, USA

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