Take a look at my writing and formatting samples, which are downloadable samples, that were prepared using Microsoft Word and Adobe FrameMaker. For online help, we used RoboHelp.
Word is useful for most companies that choose to have their engineers input the initial text or allow anyone to input or edit content. Word is also useful for small documents. Some of Word’s handy features are: spelling and grammatical mistakes are pointed out instantly with correction suggestions; and the Thesaurus feature for those occasions when a writer is at a loss for words! The biggest advantage is Word is available to everyone who has Windows. It may still be free!
FrameMaker is the best layout application on the market especially for large publications that have lots of graphics. It’s advantages are: template setup remains stable; graphics don’t move around because anchored frames; universal paragraph formatting including fonts, paragraph spacing, etc.; indexing, table of contents, and cross-references are updated automatically across the entire book; and it’s just effortless to use! Once your formatting is setup, you do not have to worry that anything will change just because you’ve opened the file again!
RoboHelp is the most popular online help application on the market. It was originally used in conjunction with Word and was very difficult to use. I had the application crash several times when trying to compile the Word files! Since Adobe bought the application, it has improved tremendously. One of the biggest advantages is importing existing files (Word, FrameMaker, etc.), and having RoboHelp set up all of the files for you! Piece of cake!
Madcap Flare is another product on the market that I used sparingly. It’s not that popular yet with technical writers and I’m not sure why. It does appear at first glance difficult to use. You have to work in XML as I understand it, which not suitable for writers who want to just write and not worry about tags. Madcap advertises that the final content can be presented in a variety of outputs, but all layout applications can do that now. Maybe someday I’ll get a project that uses Flare and I’ll finally see the advantages.
I worked with local Orange County companies to complete various documentation projects. Some of the the companies were:
If you follow the links, there are short descriptions of each company.
As the owner of Write By Design in the 90s, I completed various types of projects for many companies in the Orange County area. For a list of companies and their projects, visit this Write By Design link.
As a staff employee, I completed projects over a 12 year period of time for the following companies:
Resources and Interesting Articles
- Which Tech Writing Tools are the Most Used?
- The Best Software for Technical Writers
- Confluence: Software that Makes Technical Writing Easy for Everyone
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