Yesterday we launched a new version of our developer community website. It doesn’t have many ‘community’ features as yet but that’s all to come. One thing it does now have is an HTML version of all of our product documentation, in an easily searchable format. This new format of the product documentation is largely to move us away from PDF only documentation. At present we still have a set of PDFs but they aren’t particularly usable.
Wer kennt das Problem nicht? Aus einem riesigen Dokument wurde ein PDF erzeugt. Nun muss es auch noch für den Druck aufbereitet werden. Dafür fehlen aber die Druck- und Schnittmarken. Acrobat 7 hilft hier aus der Patsche.
If you've designed a flyer or newsletter and are distributing the document in PDF format, the color is likely a critical aspect of the document. If, however, your PDF file is part of a workflow in a law office, the color may be incidental, and may actually add nothing to the document's purpose other than bloating the document's file size.
The Search command is NOT part of the default tools layout, therefore severely reducing the chance that a casual PDF 'consumer' will use the more powerful Search command. Here's a cool trick that will greatly increase the likelihood that one of your customers will call on the Search command: you'll put it right in their hands.
One of the more tedious and error-prone processes in technical writing is that of collaborative document review. Even when documents are shared electronically, keeping track of comments, suggestions, and changes contributed by multiple team members can be exasperating. Too often errors due to collaborative review lead to delays, missed deadlines, misunderstandings and an inaccurate final document.
Sure you know how to get from one page to another in a FrameMaker document, but are you a Page Navigation Expert? If not, you certainly should be. As I've said many times, shaving seconds off your work here and there can quickly add up to minutes or even hours of production time in a FrameMaker project.
The sizes listed in the picture above are the default type sizes listed in FrameMaker's Paragraph and Character Designers. If your favorite choices are listed, great! If not, you have to type the size you want into the Size field. If you'd like to modify the Size list so that it includes your favorite Sizes, read on.
Why are people afraid of setting tabs? Since 1988, I've taught Word, PageMaker, Ventura Publisher, InDesign and FrameMaker classes, and most of my students walk in the door afraid of tabs. It's one of life's mysteries, and so I always try to set aside some time to address it in class. Here's your motivation to keep reading: once you master tabs in one program, you use the same logic in all the others.
Last week we talked about setting tab stops. To review the key points: 1.) press the tab key once between columns, 2.) add one tab stop per tab on each line of the table, and 3.) click under the ruler to add the tab stop. In this column, I'd like to address how to modify the alignment and position of tabs.
In this podcast, Nicky Bleiel says we should talk to as many users as we can — conducting on-site visits, sending surveys, gathering information from Marketing, Support, and other departments — so we can have a better understanding of our users’ needs and the formats and mediums that will work best for them. After completing this audience and needs analysis, we can then go out and create the deliverables that will best serve our users.
Working with InDesign is interesting. On the one hand, it’s not really a tool built for technical writers. It’s intended for people laying out magazines, brochures, other heavily designed print matter. As such, some things can be confusing. Cross references, figure references, a table of contents — get ready to search the help to figure these out. On the other hand, the power of the InDesign is somewhat captivating. You’re only limited by your own ignorance.
This article is based on my presentation at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators' annual conference in October, 2006. Every now and then, there is a change in the value of what technical authors deliver. These are moments when organisations pay attention to technical documentation. This is because they recognise that these changes mean they can create something that will be of real value to the business and to their customers. In recent years, there have been three "waves of interestingness". The first wave was the introduction of Windows Help (WinHelp). The second major wave was the introduction of the Internet and intranets. This was a time when organisations looked at how they could transfer large amounts of information from paper to online. They were faced with issues such as how users could access and understand all this information easily - issues that technical communicators deal with on a day-to-day basis. I believe we're just about to approach the new wave, which we have called "Tech Writing 2.0".
This article is based on my presentation at the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators' annual conference, in October 2006, on new trends in technical authoring. It covers the application of Web 2.0 technologies to technical documentation.
Currently, visual XML structured authoring applications can typically handle a small number of XML vocabularies. In some cases, they can even handle them in limited nested scenarios. One of the purposes of creating XML documents with compound vocabularies is to present related information on a given topic in different manners (tables, charts, etc). The synchronization of views between objects of different vocabularies in real-time editing helps authors realize this potential. In this presentation we will discuss an approach to visually creating, editing and synchronizing, nested compound XML vocabularies within one document. The open nature of the architecture enables developers to create plug-ins for new vocabularies including the ability to define synchronization. Also this architecture provides simple method to define visualization of a new vocabulary by utilizing plug-ins already developed and activated.
With all the talk about Web 2.0 and the attendant technologies, are readers actually being better served by documentation now than they were in the past?
XPS (XML Paper Specification) est un format de fichier électronique à présentation fixe comme le PDF du concurrent Adobe qui préserve la mise en forme du document et permet le partage des fichiers sans perte dinformation. Le format XPS garantit que, lorsquun fichier est affiché en ligne ou imprimé, il conserve le format souhaité.
Table Styles are my favorite type of Style in Word. They allow you to quickly and consistently format the table itself (e.g. borders, shading, etc.), the content within the table (E.g. line spacing, font color, font size, etc.), and they can also can tell a table when to do these (e.g. shade every other row, bold text in the first column, etc.). The first two enable you to create really rich tables, and the last one (which I'll call Conditional Formatting for the rest of this post) enables you to easily work with those rich tables. Both are quite important.
Read about the Best of Show winners of the 2005•2006 competitions in international technical art, international online communication, and international technical publications. Also, meet the winner of the international student technical communication competition.
Creating great typeface combinations is an art, not a science. Indeed, the beauty of typography has no borders. While there are no absolute rules to follow, it is crucial that you understand and apply some best practices when combining fonts in a design. When used with diligence and attention, these principles will always yield suitable results. Today we will take a close look at some the best practices for combining typefaces — as well as some blunders to avoid.
Formatting can be a challenge to teach and learn. This chapter provides you with an overview of how the Modern Language Association (MLA) format choices in typography, spacing, and image placement adhere to the standards of basic design. By understanding the theory the MLA rules are based upon, you can help students learn to apply good design principles to any document. Students often don’t understand why they should format their papers according to the design specified by style guides such as the one published by the MLA. Rather than being arbitrary, formatting rules specified by MLA are grounded in good design principles that allow the reader to focus on the meaning of the text rather than the design of the document.
Software user guides have traditionally provided assistance when the user requested help. Context-sensitivity enabled help systems to predict the most appropriate topic to present. For Windows applications, the move from Microsoft WinHelp to the new Microsoft HTML Help format allows user instructions to be presented in the same window as the application. This offers technical authors some extraordinary opportunities to provide intelligent, predictive, interactive help without the user having to request it. In this paper, we will explore one of the first such interactive help systems (for the Archivist e-mail archiving software), and see where the technology is moving.
Technical writers provide information enabling users to learn and apply various technologies. In the endeavor to enable users, technical writers often need to use different strategies of classification, presentation, and structuring for the different types of information. However, in most cases such classifications or decisions about the best method of presentation and optimum structure are guided by instinct and are rarely heuristic. In this article, we present an established classification of information called Bloom’s taxonomy (of educational objectives), which can help technical writers make decisions about content classification.