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  1. #1
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    Adobe Bookmarks (2002/2003)

    We are in the planning stages for a series of manuals. Ideally there will be one document that has the outline of the entire series of manuals (probably 3 levels of the outline). All documents referenced in the outline are hyperlinked and can be compressed or expanded.

    What came to mind for me was the Adobe Bookmark documents. The outline is like a navigation tool within the document. I've seen Microsoft manuals which look like they are Adobe documents with bookmarks. Does anyone know if the Microsoft manuals are actually Adobe Bookmarked (Microsoft's PDF-like) or is there a way within Word documents to do the bookmarking?

    The other issue is that there are many documents within different folders. We are actually using Sharepoint to save the documents, but that is another issue for another time.

    We would use Adobe Acrobat if that is the only way, but would prefer to not have to maintain the Word files and the Adobe file. The manuals will be created and changed over time.

    Sorry that I have been so long winded. It took me a while to figure out what the boss actually wanted.

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    Re: Adobe Bookmarks (2002/2003)

    I believe you need to explore your options further and discuss your findings with your manager to further refine the end target. The following is my ramblings on what you have told us.

    1. I believe that Sharepoint, rather than being an secondary topic, is the key to your solution. Your sketchy requirements sound exactly like what the software was created to manage and I believe you should locate your Sharepoint expert and discuss your requirements with them - they should be able to tell you what you can and can't do with the software. I would guess that you should be producing documents in Word and loading them to the Sharepoint portal and the end-users would then access the files there (with read-only) rights.

    2. The bookmark objects within an Acrobat file are essentially implemented in Word as the 'Document Map' which is available under the View menu. There are variable experiences with this feature so you should use it as a review tool rather than an authoring assistant. If you do some searches on this forum you will see what the issues are that people experience with this.

    3. You need to think carefully about what exactly these documents are for and how the end users will interact with them. Both Word and Acrobat create documents that can be read online or printed but they are best suited to producing printed hardcopy. If the end product is solely online then perhaps another 'help' type format is more suitable. Some of the questions you need to ask are...
    - Are they doing online searches to find specific topics?
    - Are they reading from top to bottom in a sequence?
    - Are they reading hard copy or soft copy?
    - If working online, are they jumping around by following hyperlinks within only one document or do hyperlinks need to point outside the current file? This can be a real problem with Word and Acrobat files if filenames/paths are changed after the links have been created. This is guaranteed to happen if the files are then stored inside Sharepoint.
    - Do the end users need to edit the files or do they need read-only access?
    - Do you need to control the authoring process with configuration control?

    4. Getting back to your original question - is there a single outline or one for each document? If there is a single outline which includes all documents then it will need to be updated everytime any of the included files are updated. Can this be automated with the tools you choose to use?
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Re: Adobe Bookmarks (2002/2003)

    Thanks for your response, Andrew.

    The outline folder structure has already been set up in Sharepoint. The Sharepoint expert is the one asking for a Word solution. I believe that the main purpose of the Word solution is to be able to print either individual sections of the document or the entire document from one master / main document. Also, all the documents within a section relate to each other and describe the procedures needed to prepare reports. The sections must read as if they were written as one document, both in content and style, but each part of the section and each section may be written by different people or departments.

    From my limited knowledge of Sharepoint, I do not know of anyway to view or print documents without opening each, one at a time. We were discussing the use of Master-Sub Document feature of Word. Master document would give us the ability to see all the sections and sub sections as one document. Just looking at the outline folder structure in Sharepoint the master document with its sub documents would be very large and each sub document could have other documents associated with it. I know that sub of sub documents is a very bad idea.

    I understand the reason they are asking for the means of seeing all the sections as one document, but I just do not know if it is possible to grant all their wishes.

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    Re: Adobe Bookmarks (2002/2003)

    I don't think you will be able to solve the problem of printing everything, without opening everything, using any software. The files simply have to be opened before they can be printed - although this doesn't necessarily need to happen on the screen while the printing is going on.

    I would say that master/sub-documents is definitely not going to solve the problem either - it will magnify the issue instead. The problem with master/sub documents is that the filenames and filepaths is critical to keeping a master document together. You build this structure when creating a master document and it will break if you then move those same files into Sharepoint - which stores the files with document control and hence changes the filenames and paths. This is not a problem if you then extract all the component files into the same (relative) directory structure before opening the master again but who is going to do that?

    The best you can hope for is that Sharepoint is clever enough to allow a script to be developed which can take the manual labour out of selecting a whole bunch of documents and open/print/close them in a sequential order. I would have thought that this wouldn't be difficult but I don't know anything about Sharepoint.

    ==============
    Off topic Warning

    I suppose the really slick endgame would be other tools that work outside of the bounds of that with which you are already comfortable. You could explore the world of authoring using XML and/or databases. These workflows allow you to control the content going in so that it is standardised for types of data being input. This will give you a chance at getting consistent content from multiple author levels and departments. The actual look of the content is separated from the content and hence can be manipulated later to give alternate outputs such as single document, whole suite, online help, html etc. Tools like AuthorIT or the soon to be released Mapcap Blaze are tools that would be better suited to an enterprise wide method of delivering content in a range of ways. AuthorIT sits in front of an Access or SQL database and has a workflow where authors create small chunks of a document in 'topics' which can then be collected in many different ways and output in many different ways.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Re: Adobe Bookmarks (2002/2003)

    I like the off topic idea. Separate software would mean taking the documents out of Sharepoint, because I do not think databases work within Sharepoint (which is a database). I expect that they will not want to move the documents out of Sharepoint.

    I guess it is time to go to our Sharepoint experts to see what they can do for us. Thanks again, Andrew.

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    Re: Adobe Bookmarks (2002/2003)

    Yes, I think you would need to stay out of Sharepoint if your experts in this software can't suggest a slick method of doing this. I am surprised that they haven't suggested a solution based on authoring within a customised Sharepoint portal. The last couple of versions of Word have been XML-aware so some solutions can be developed using it but to be honest, I don't know anyone who uses these capabilities for anything other than exploration.

    The sticking point in using Sharepoint is the fact that in order to print a large number of documents, you need to extract every one from Sharepoint to open it, then print it, then close it. This is something you probably can't get around easily using CM tools like Sharepoint (unless they have some scripts to allow it) since they essentially act like a safe - you can't read anything inside until you open it and take it out. And if you have linked all the separate files together (eg for master docs or for hyperlinks) then pulling them back out of the safe won't necessarily preserve these.

    Yes, the off topic authoring tools probably won't work easily with Sharepoint. They may be based on a database backend which would need to be outside of Sharepoint or they would have plenty of files which all have to be in the right locations to allow the various parts to open.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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