Change bars FM vs Word

Community Beginner ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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After dozens of years using FM in numerous companies, I'm at a loss as to how to convince my current company that using FM's automatic change bars is a better way to go than "drawing in" bars via the graphics tool. I've explained everything I can think of, but it's not convincing management.

In Word, they say, one can paste in  change bars easily, whereas using automatic bars in FM seems too slow and inefficient. The main problem is two "versions" of change bars. Not only does the current version of the manual require change bars, but it also requires change bars from the previous version -- and the front matter page that lists change pages has to include "change 1" and "change 2" bars.

Company is feeling that Word is better in most regards. As a Technical Writer, I KNOW this is NOT true ... FM is a publications tool, versus Word being just a word processor, etc., etc., etc., etc.

Anybody not worn down by trying to make this argument have any ideas about how to explain that "pasting in" bars via graphics tool (as one does in Word) is not a better way to go? Each argument I can think of is falling on deaf ears.

Thank you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Hi Joan:

I actually have never heard this argument before.

And while you can add change bars automatically while editing (the traditional use), are you aware you can also add them via a paragraph tag and/or a character tag? However, once added, they all look the same—you can't define two different looks, which it sounds like you might need to reflect current and previous version edits?

I don't like the idea of sending you back to Word any more than you do, but you won't be able to use Fm's change bar feature (automatic or tag-based) if you need to have two different looks for them.

~Barb

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Hi, Barb,

I’ve never heard this argument (of mgmt.) before either, and as I said, I’m at a loss!!

We don’t need the bars to look different from each other. And I did know I could add them via paragraph and/or char tag, but thanks for making sure I knew that. ☺

They don’t like the “auto” or “clear all” factors, and using tags probably would not make them happy either. I’m going to try to persevere and hope for the best. I appreciate your taking the time to mention these aspects of the change bar situation.

Thanks you,

Joan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Hi Joan:

What about creating a character tag for "last version" and a character tag for the "current version"—if the bars impact partial paragraphs—or equivalent paragraph tags if they don't? Then you could update the style and pull them off all of the last version at one time, for example?

Just a thought!

~Barb

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Hi, Barb,

That is a great thought!! I should have thought of it myself but I didn’t. thank you!!!

I think I’m so far into this forest that I cannot see the trees at this point. Thank you for pointing them out for me!! ☺

Joan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Happy to help, Joan. That saying about how "it takes a village..." is pretty accurate for most of us!

~Barb

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Hi Joan,

While I can't imagine manually inserting graphics could be easier than using automatic features, perhaps you can simply beat them by addressing the issue point by point.

To that end, is pasting change bars in Word any easier than pasting them into Fm?

If you win that argument, then perhaps you can eliminate Word from the discussion and address the auto change bar issue separately.

FWIW, I just posted last week (with accompanying webinar recording) on the advantages of Fm v. Word, with a link to the Adobe white paper on this topic.

http://techcommtools.com/framemaker-costs-less-than-word/

-Matt

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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Thank you, Matt! Very useful information! And thank you for the links.

Joan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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My pleasure! Let us know how it all turns out.

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Advisor ,
Apr 23, 2018 Apr 23, 2018

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LATEST

In a previous job, I was handling regulatory documents that had to be updated and reissued a minimum of four times a year – with tracked changes and a change log. Automated mark-up tended to result in unreadably messy pages, but thoughtfully applying conditions new_{version} and deleted_{version} gave clear indications in the body text and meant the change log could be driven from a List of Markers. As a bonus, it meant we could be fairly confident about roll-backs to answer the question "what did the manual say about topic x in version y?" though of course, the printed reference copy per version was a much faster way of doing that ;-}

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