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How to convert to recent version of Word?

Explorer ,
Mar 24, 2017

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I have FM 2015, but if I try to save a file as Word, the only option it gives me is RTF 1.6. Isn't there anything more recent than that? I can't even do this conversion because FM crashes almost every time.

Correct answer by Matt S - Tech Comm Tools | Adobe Community Professional

Have you tried removing the graphics and saving as RTF? Not ideal, but the graphics may be causing your crashes.

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How to convert to recent version of Word?

Explorer ,
Mar 24, 2017

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I have FM 2015, but if I try to save a file as Word, the only option it gives me is RTF 1.6. Isn't there anything more recent than that? I can't even do this conversion because FM crashes almost every time.

Correct answer by Matt S - Tech Comm Tools | Adobe Community Professional

Have you tried removing the graphics and saving as RTF? Not ideal, but the graphics may be causing your crashes.

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Mar 24, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 24, 2017

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I can't speak to the crashing, but if you export to RTF 1.6, you can open the file in Word, and save it to a more current version of RTF or to a .doc or .docx file. As a heads up, this hasn't changed in FrameMaker 2017—it's still 1.6.

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Mar 24, 2017 1
Explorer ,
Mar 28, 2017

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I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. I was saving the files as RTF 1.6, that's what was crashing. My version of FM doesn't even offer Word as a choice. (I know I can convert the RTF files to .DOC later.)

Thanks.

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Mar 28, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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As can be seen on Rich Text Format - Wikipedia, RTF1.6 came out in 1999! Yet another Frame feature that Adobe has just utterly failed to keep up to date. (RTF reached it's final release as 1.9.1 in 2008...)

And Adobe wonder why people keep switching to Madcap Flare...

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Probably not a super high priority since going from FM to Word is fairly uncommon (whereas Word to FM is much more prevalent). Why not go FM to PDF, PDF to Word?

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Well it's a bit chicken and egg, really, is it not?

Going Frame to Word will never be a common workflow, because it doesn't work   Because Frame only supports outputting as obsolete versions of Word / Rich Text.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Employee ,
Apr 18, 2017

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For Word to FrameMaker I can see two use cases:

  1. Importing Word documents from content contributors and then editing and publishing the content professionally in FrameMaker.
  2. Completely migrating from Word to FrameMaker.

However, I'm wondering what the use case for the way back might be?

By the way, you might want to have a look at this webinar recording:

Formats don't matter! Set your content free – Edit Word documents as DITA in FrameMaker 2015!

When you are working with DITA in FrameMaker you can simply open DOCX files in FrameMaker as a DITA file, edit as native DITA files and stay in DITA or save back to DOCX. Of course, there are some technical restrictions due to architectural differences of the Word Document model and the DITA architecture, but it's pretty cool when you have an unstructured Word and a structured (DITA-based) FrameMaker writer and want to share the same "document" seamlessly forth and back between them.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Umm, just because it's an old standard doesn't mean it fails to work. If you're determined to get text out of FM, even a simple copy/paste will do. It's just not that common a workflow IMHO.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Respectfully, providing a FrameMaker to MS Word workflow isn't Adobe's priority.

And to my knowledge, it's never been any vendor's mission to provide a feature to migrate to a competitor's product. Not from Word to Fm, and not from Fm to Word.

It is the vendor's goal to receive content (for example, providing a mechanism for mapping Word files into both Fm and InDesign)

Look to Microsoft to provide conversion tools from Fm (or InDesign, or any other app) to Word functionality, not the other way around. And look to Adobe to provide (quite pleasant) tools for importing Word, and many other formats into FrameMaker.

Having said that, Fm provides output to excellent RTF, MIF, and even allows structuring of content to match content models (see Stefan's link to the Word/DITA content provided earlier)

As to the age of the Pantone libraries, if you're in need of spot separations of Pantone colors from FrameMaker, you're certainly in the minority. I've not had a request for spot output from Fm since the 90s, so I'm glad they've invested heavily in HTML5 output and not in the continually shrinking commercial print world, where InDesign effectively owns the market.

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Apr 18, 2017 1
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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FrameMaker isn't Adobe's priority, full stop.

Adobe obviously felt it was worthwhile to keep their 'Save As...RTF' function up to date prior to their decision to ditch Frame as a product in the early noughties, so go argue with them as to why they were mistaken to do that, not me!

Updated Pantone libraries (defined using a LaB device-independent model) would be useful just for colour accuracy in the kind of elementary corporate branding and safety messages that nearly every technical document uses, nothing to do with printing to plates or spot seperations

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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My FM->Word experience was difficult, although I managed to work around it. Once I actually had the output, it was usable. The Word files were not for final publication, just for reviewing by other staff members, so even though things like linebreaks and placement of images, etc, weren't good, it wasn't that important. After the review, I was able to copy back the updates to the FM files.

(This is a new process at my company. In the past, I would give out PDFs to reviewers, and they would put sticky comments on places where changes needed to be made, or in some cases, list their comments in an accompanying text file. But my current manager wants reviews to be done in Word so people can just go in and change what they think should be changed.)

Here's my question: how is the Word -> FM conversion any easier? My experience with that has always been terrible, even worse than FM->Word. The result is a mess in FM and I have to go through entire manuals to fix bad layouts, distorted images (I have to re-import them), and broken cross-references - hundreds of those. I try to avoid Word->FM conversions at all costs! But PDF -> FM is even worse, because sections of text are created as separate textflows, which overlap each other... it's unbearable. I haven't done this conversion in a few years, so has it improved recently? Does FM 2015 resolve some of these issues?

Thanks. It would help a lot if someone would answer that question. If I could easily convert Word files back to FM, it would make it unnecessary to find all the edits in the Word files and paste them back into the FM files one-by-one. Especially when someone accepts their own edits and I can't see any markup.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Adobe has improved the Word import into FM process in recent versions. The review workflow you talk about can be accomplished entirely within FM: FM to Review PDF -> reviewer comments -> changes back into FM. That's been around for a few versions now. It's different than the import of a PDF into FM - that creates a block of text as an uneditable inset. Really no need to round trip to Word.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Jeff, thanks for your quick response. The problem with group edits using FM is that nobody else has any need for FM (I'm the lone writer here). Getting FM for everyone would be a very hard sell, considering the learning curve for people who don't even need it, not to mention the expense. So round trips to Word are going to be the reality around here - and that is the preferable one, because the other possibility is that we won't buy FM at all anymore and I'll have to write manuals in Word! Nobody's actually said that to me, but if I can't make the conversions from Word -> FM more efficient, I'm afraid that is just what will happen. Maybe I'm wrong, but i don't have the impression that Word offers a very good solution for putting chapters together in a book.

I'm testing conversions now, and I just encountered another problem. In FM, all my graphics are imported by reference. But if I go to Word and then back to FM, the graphics are part of the file. Do you know of any way to prevent this?

Thanks,

Joyce

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 18, 2017

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No, you've misunderstood - the process is FM to PDF, commenting in PDF, then import of comments/changes back into the source FM doc - no need for multiple copies of FM. You just create Review PDFs (different than a regular PDF) that are edited by multiple reviewers in Reader, then you suck them (the REview PDFs) back into your FM content (accepting/rejecting as you go).

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Are you saying that people can easily change text in a Review PDF? As easy as changing text in Word? If so, I might be able to convince my manager to let us do it that way, especially if, as you say, people can update text in a PDF using Reader. (I have Acrobat, as do some other people here, but most have Reader.)

Thanks.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Yes, I've always found it easy for them to make changes/comments - you need a newer version of FM to seamlessly suck in the PDF comments - the first version required you to "freeze" your source FM doc until the comments came back - I think newer versions have improved that function.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 28, 2017

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Have you tried removing the graphics and saving as RTF? Not ideal, but the graphics may be causing your crashes.

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Mar 28, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Mar 28, 2017

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I'm pretty sure you're right about the graphics, because the files printed when I removed them. Are you saying that one (or more) of the image files might be corrupted? Or just that the file got too big with the images? These aren't vector graphics, but screenshots in color.

The problem is, I need those graphics to be in the files. And there are a lot of them, so it would be a big pain to have to put them into the Word file manually.

I solved the problem by breaking up the FM files into much smaller files. Those were saved to Word without crashes, and then I just put them all together into one big Word file.

Thanks!

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Mar 28, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2017

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Glad you got it solved...yes, I think it was a corrupt graphic. But it's almost impossible to efficiently track it down. I wish I knew what was going wrong, but (removing graphics) is just one of the things I do to try and narrow down possible problems.

The Save As option has always been stable for me, so removing the graphics was really just a lucky guess.

The fact that you could process the files when you took smaller bites points to some sort of size limitation though.

<rambling_anecdote>

I had a boss one time who wanted me to track down everything that went wrong on every job every time every day.

I asked him "Who's going to do the work?"
</rambling_anecdote>

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Apr 05, 2017 0
Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Well, I see you guys are gamely trying to offer practical workarounds and use case scenarios, but to me this is just another obvious tell-tale sign (along with things like Pantone colour libraries from 1988!)  that Adobe basically dropped Frame as a product in the early noughties, and just continued to sell it as a cash cow to big clients in IT and aviation/defence, and only resurrected it with great begrudging reluctance when Tech Authors kept insisting it was a tool they couldn't do without.

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Apr 18, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 18, 2017

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Exactly  what functionality is missing in RTF content generated from FM? Word opens RTF seamlessly, just like FM opens a MIF file, so except for dealing with functionality that Word/RTF doesn't support (like true sideheads and run-ins) providing a list of missing features that are required for current versions of Word would be more helpful then a blanket dismissal.

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Apr 18, 2017 0