Re: Multiple versions of same manual

Subject: Re: Multiple versions of same manual
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 13:51:11 -0400


FrameMaker with it's conditional tagging was designed to do just this.

I routinely create documentation that depending on it's target, will
include/exclude information on specific conmbinations of features,
graphics, and instructions, all in one set of files (a book), and
everytime you do an edit, the edit will appear in all versions of the

I also use it to create internal instruction manuals that are designed
for a specific competency level. e.g., show every single dialog box for
a program for a beginner who is unsure of how they are doing, yet an
abreviated version for the expert of repetitive user.

However, it isn't Word, it isn't Microsoft, and should you consider
switching over, expect a learning curve and a fair amount of
reformatting of your Word files before they are usable.

hm chou wrote:
> setup: a product i am working on comes in three flavors -- Local,
> Networked, and Enhanced Networked. i wrote a manual for what has ended up
> being the Enhanced Networked product -- when i started there was only going
> to be 1 product, not 3. now that it's 3 separate but similar products, i'm
> being asked to create a separate Local manual and Network manual b/c we
> don't want the Local customers thinking they're getting a stripped down
> product. it's a fairly messy job, since many of the features intertwine
> throughout the three different products.
> question: is there a way to print the 3 manuals w/out actually having to
> write 3 separate manuals? i'm worried about updating the manuals since in
> many places they share the same information, and would then have to be
> updated 3 separate times (since i'm a contractor, the job of updating hte
> manuals will likely fall to someone else, either contract or permanent). is
> there a way to tag sentences and paragraphs as belonging to one manual and
> not another (like BUILDTAGS in WinHelp), and during printing, enable or
> disable these tags? and lastly, is there a way to do this in Word 97
> (blah!)?

John Posada, Technical Writer (and proud of the title)
The world's premier Internet fax service company: The FaxSav Global
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poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few
reasonable words.", Goethe
"Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader
will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will
certainly misunderstand them.", John Ruskin

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