A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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1.
#28065

Absolute PowerPoint

Before there were presentations, there were conversations, which were a little like presentations but used fewer bullet points, and no one had to dim the lights. A woman we can call Sarah Wyndham, a defense-industry consultant living in Alexandria, Virginia, recently began to feel that her two daughters weren't listening when she asked them to clean their bedrooms and do their chores. So, one morning, she sat down at her computer, opened Microsoft's PowerPoint program, and used it.

Parker, Ian. Ohio State University, The. Articles>Presentations>Software>Microsoft PowerPoint

2.
#30382

Accommodating Active Learners in Software Documentation Decisions  (link broken)   (PDF)

Recent research focusing on a minimalist approach to computer software documentation has explored ways to design computer software tutorials and workbooks for users with an active learning style. The principles of minimalism and active learning styles, however, are less frequently applied to traditional reference manuals. This paper reviews several elements of minimalism and suggests ways to apply strategies for active learners to traditional reference manuals.

Smart, Karl L. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Instructional Design>Software

3.
#26860

Review: AcosHelp: Context Sensitive Online Help with PDF Files  (link broken)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

PRC AcosHelp is the World's first 'single source' Windows online help system that allows you to use Adobe Acrobat PDF files for context sensitive online help. AcosHelp is very useful for Document Management systems, where the documents are stored as PDF-files.

Kudesia, Saurabh. International Journal for Technical Communication (2006). Articles>Reviews>Software>Help

4.
#31149

Acrobat 7 zum komfortablen Erzeugen von Druck und Schnittmarken einsetzen

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.

TECOM (2003). (German) Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe Acrobat

5.
#28187

Acrobat Features Turbocharge the Online Review Process

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.

Gravel, Charlie. Carolina Communique (2003). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe Acrobat

6.
#35513

Active Open Source Translation Tool Projects

I don’t intend to give a complete project list. I just chose some projects that might be interesting enough to people from localization industry based on two criteria: 1. The features are useful for language service providers (LSP). 2. The development status is Stable or Mature. In other words, it is ready for real production use from the view of development cycle.

Dickson, Vic. Better Localization (2005). Articles>Software>Translation>Open Source

7.
#21676

Add A Custom Menu To a Microsoft Word Toolbar

In Microsoft Word, you can use menus and toolbars to control how you manage your documents. Menus display a list of commands. Most menus are located on the menu bar at the top of the Word window. Shortcut menus are available when you right-click text, objects, or other items. Toolbars can contain buttons with images, menus, or a combination of both. By default, the Standard and Formatting toolbars are docked side by side below the menu bar. You can also add a custom menu to your toolbar.

Klariti. Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word

8.
#18647

Adding to Your Tool Box

You've applied and interviewed for a position, but you don't get it because you don't have a particular skill set that the employer needs. You want to learn a new tool, but the software is expensive and you can't afford to spend a lot of money on software at this time. Do either of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If they do, you have some options for learning new tools and can add to your portfolio at the same time.This article looks at the options that you have for learning software -- teaching yourself, taking classes, volunteering, and on-the-job training.

Puffer, Paula. STC Northeast Ohio (2001). Articles>Education>Software>Volunteering

9.
#27089

Adobe FrameMaker Autonumbering Examples  (link broken)

Autonumbering had changed as new versions of FrameMaker have arrived. What worked in FrameMaker 5 might have broken in 5.5. This is due to changes Adobe made in the restart building blocks (request presentation). While our examples below use the maximum building blocks (meaning a little extra work), the result is numbering schemes that are more flexible for multiple versions of FrameMaker.

Bright Path Solutions (2004). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe FrameMaker

10.
#35539

Adobe FrameMaker: Custom Master Pages  (link broken)

New FrameMaker documents have default Master Pages. Single-sided documents have one, called "Right," and double-sided documents have two, called "Left" and "Right." We use these pages to place the objects we want to repeat on all the Body Pages, things like our running heads, page numbers and repeating graphics. But what do you do when you need a different look for a Body Page, on a repeating basis? For example, no page number on the opening page of each chapter? You set up a custom master page. Here's how.

Binder, Barbara. Blogs.com (2009). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe FrameMaker

11.
#36063

Adobe FrameMaker: Page Navigation

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.

Binder, Barbara. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2009). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe FrameMaker

12.
#36198

Adobe FrameMaker: Setting Tabs, Part 1

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.

Binder, Barbara. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe FrameMaker

13.
#36265

Adobe FrameMaker: Setting Tabs, Part II

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.

Binder, Barbara. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe FrameMaker

14.
#35420

Adobe FrameMaker: Troubleshooting Unavailable Fonts

I never like opening up a FrameMaker document and getting the dreaded unavailable fonts dialog box. Sadly, with multiple authors who contribute documents to me from around the world, it's just a fact of life that I see the dialog box frequently.

Binder, Barbara. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2009). Articles>Typography>Software>Adobe FrameMaker

15.
#38496

Adobe RoboHelp: Synonyms Made Easy

Here is an example of how Search could fail. Your company Help System, a Policies guide, includes a topic concerned with contraband substances in the office. The word contraband is contained within the topic so the word will be found if users search for that specific term. However, a user who is curious about contraband substances might elect to search the Help System using another word, such as illicit. Because the word illicit isn't in the Help System, the Search will fail. There are a couple of ways to fix the problem. One way would be to add Search terms to the properties of individual topics. Another way, which I'll cover here, is to use RoboHelp's Advanced Settings for Localization to create a synonym (illicit) for contraband.

Siegel, Kevin A. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2012). Articles>Documentation>Software>Adobe RoboHelp

16.
#22306

Adobe's Robert McDaniels Responds (Again) to Nielsen Criticisms of PDF

Many of the 'PDF Usability Crimes' Nielsen cites have nothing to do with Acrobat or PDF but are the result of poor design choices. Most of same arguments about poor navigation, large file sizes, and excessive text blocks can be used to describe poorly designed HTML as well. There are some very valid reasons for using PDF's online as opposed to HTML.

McDaniels, Robert. PlanetPDF (2003). Articles>Usability>Software>Adobe Acrobat

17.
#29302

Adventures with OpenOffice and XML

In addition to being open source, saving as XML makes OpenOffice truly open. Aside from being open source, XML's self-documenting nature allows us to dive into the document format without having to dive into C++. And more significantly, XML allows us to use simple, free tools to manipulate the documents themselves. In this article we will examine the structure of the format.

Sergeant, Matt. XML.com (2001). Articles>Software>Word Processing>OpenOffice

18.
#30772

All About Madcap Flare

Madcap Flare is one of the most powerful online help authoring tools on the market today. In this podcast, Paul Pehrson, MVP in the Madcap Software forums, talks about Madcap Flare in depth.

Pehrson, Paul and Tom H. Johnson. Tech Writer Voices (2008). Articles>Documentation>Software>Madcap Flare

19.
#35054

All Tools Suck

On top of the usual frustrations with poor, incomplete, and incorrect implementation of standards and typically buggy and poorly-supported programs, add my frustration with trying to integrate these tools with other similarly joyful tools and you can see that my job is a recipe for bitterness and pain.

Kimber, Eliot. Dr. Macro's XML Rants (2006). Articles>Software>Standards>XSL

20.
#33761

Alternatives to Formatting XML Editors for Creating Structured Information

XML editors have traditionally been modeled after the first SGML editor written in 1985, a long time before creating, managing, and distributing structured information was well understood. Now, nearly 20 years later, there are more choices for users interested in creating structured information. Specifically, this presentation discusses alternatives that include Web-based distributed collaborative XML document creation, "tag-free" tools, non-formatting structured editors, and even using common office tools in creating your XML documents.

Daldt, Dale. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Software>Information Design>XML

21.
#18817

Analysis of Tools Used in the UK by Technical Communicators  (link broken)

During March and April 2003, Cherryleaf carried out an online survey into the current trends in technical communication. One of the questions we asked was: Which software tools do you personally use to do your job? The respondents were able to select more than one tool from the list provided. We filtered our results to find the most popular software tools used by technical communicators in the UK.

Cherryleaf (2003). Articles>Research>Software>United Kingdom

22.
#35149

The Appeal of Adobe InDesign

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.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Document Design>Software>Adobe InDesign

23.
#20275

Applying Computer Analysis and Design Techniques to Document Component-Based Software   (PDF)

Facing the challenges involved in developing documentation for component-based software (for example, object-oriented technology, intelligent agents, and distributed computing) requires a documentation strategy based on the same processes and methodologies used by such technologies. These strategies need to be adapted to meet documentation, rather than coding needs. Developing this strategy now, as component-based technology is still maturing, will help technical communicators keep pace.

Bachmann, Karen L. and Ginger Doherty. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Software

24.
#35059

Appreciating Libxslt

The two most well-known XSLT processors are probably the Apache project's Xalan (available in both a Java and C++ version) and the Java-based Saxon, which was written by XSLT 2.0 specification editor Michael Kay. If those are the only two XSLT processors you currently use, it's worth checking out Daniel Veillard's libxslt.

DuCharme, Bob. XML.com (2005). Articles>Information Design>Software>XSL

25.
#21427

Arm-Wrestling the Photoshop Police

Adobe is shipping a 6.0 upgrade to Photoshop that, for many Mac users, proves unusable. We learned back in the 1980s that when you rake your legitimate users over the coals in the hopes of catching the occasional thief, you end up with a lot of really raked off users. Apparently, someone at Adobe has forgotten.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Nielsen Norman Group (2001). Articles>User Interface>Software>Adobe Photoshop

 
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