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

Subject: Re: Word/Doc-To-Help/Acrobat Combination
From: Jane Bergen <janeber -at- CYBERRAMP -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 09:07:20 -0600

Brian,

Tools are mostly a matter of personal preference. I used the same
combination (Word plus Doc-to-Help) for years and was just fine. I do prefer
RoboHelp now, however, but there are plenty of people still using D2H and
loving it. The important thing is to find the right tool for the job.....
not necessarily the hottest toy on the market. Word is fine for most
documentation projects. It's easy to learn, has lots of bells and whistles,
and is very customizable. A few cautions, however, will help you avoid
problems:

* Turn OFF the Fast Save feature
* Avoid using the Master document scheme like it was the plague
* Push yourself to learn how to customize it. I have special icons that
represent macros and lots of keyboard shortcuts I use to apply styles and
run more macros.
* Get a good 3rd-party book on using Word so you can tame graphics-handling.
I have never ever had problems with the way Word does my graphics...and I
use LOTS of them.

Now, that said, the other word processor mentioned a lot on this list is
FrameMaker. It is better for long documents (200+) pages, or documents where
you must use a master doc (called a "book" feature in FrameMaker).
FrameMaker has its fans, though I'm pretty lukewarm on it, myself. It's not
at all customizable, the online help is a bad joke, and its not Windows-like
(which makes it not easy to learn). But it's kind of like driving a Sherman
tank....you know you'll get to your destination eventually, but it's not
always a pleasant trip.

Doc-to-Help and RoboHelp are both excellent products, but both need Word.
They are basically a collection of macros and special software voodoo
running on top of Microsoft Word. If you completely eliminate Word, you'll
have to get serious about learning how to use RTF files or get a stand-alone
Help Authoring Tool (HAT) like ForeHelp and others.

That's all more than you probably wanted to know....but I feel kind of wordy
today.

Jane Bergen


----- Brian Doonan wrote -----
>I am not only new to this mailing list, I am new to technical writing also.
>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?


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