Re: Word/Doc-To-Help/Acrobat Combination

Subject: Re: Word/Doc-To-Help/Acrobat Combination
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 09:29:18 -0500

>>>From: Brian Doonan [mailto:bdoonan -at- CORECO -dot- COM]
>>>Subject: Word/Doc-To-Help/Acrobat Combination

>>>I am not only new to this mailing list, I am new to
>>>technical writing also.

Given that you are new, are you in a position to change the tools your
company uses?

>>>There is one question that I would like to put forward
>>>immediately. The
>>>company that has hired me uses the software combination of Word97,
>>>Doc-To-Help, and Abode Acrobat. In reading your posts over
>>>the past two
>>>days, I have seen that many of you do not use this
>>>particular combination.
>>>Is there a better software setup that a technical writer can
>>>use to produce
>>>hard-copy documents, help files, and on-line documentation?

As you point out, this is very subjective--almost troll-like in nature.
IMHO, FrameMaker is the weapon of choice for DTP. FrameMaker goes to Acrobat
very well. Acrobat is my weapon of choice for on-line books. Currently I
export via RTF and use RoboHelp 6 to make WinHelp. However, I am actively
pursuing WebWorks to be used in combo with FrameMaker. I find FrameMaker to
be more stable than the competition (Word and Ventura included), a good
value for the stability and feature set (versus Interleaf and the others),
and I find support particularly helpful and knowledgeable (versus all the
others). Adobe also makes translated versions of the software interface
available (versus Ventura), in addition to spelling and hyphenation
dictionaries. Additionally, while opinions may differ on this, I like the
printed documentation with FrameMaker 5.5 (I preferred 5.0's a little more).
Negatives for FrameMaker are the non-Windows look and feel (if you're on
that platform), the hokey (sorry VPI readers) Windows on-line help, and a
conservative feature set (versus Ventura).

My #2 choice would be Corel Ventura 8. I'm not sold on RoboHelp, the support
stinks and the frequency of marginal updates is positively wallet draining.
I use RoboHelp because I've never been sold on anything else and I have a
certain comfort level with RoboHelp, its bugs, and its workarounds. I have
written 500+ page books, with many graphics, cross-refs, TOC, Index, lists,
in MS Word; I am loathe to ever do that again.

My two cents, no flames, please.

sean -at- quodata -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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