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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    FrameMaker template from Word?

    Can FM import template settings from Word?

    The manual says to change a document so it contains the formats and settings I want, which of course I can do. But the settings are already defined in my Word templates, so it would save time to import.
    Lugh.
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    It's been years since I used Framemaker but I'm pretty sure some style settings can be imported to Framemaker. Frame and Word work quite differently though and so many features in a Word template such as customised ribbons, macros, building blocks etc are never going to be importable. I also wouldn't hold much hope of getting page setups, section headers/footers or table styles into Framemaker via import.

    The best thing to do is 'suck it and see'. The current version of Frame may import Word files directly but you could save your Word doc to Rich Text Format (.rtf) which I'm sure Frame can still import. This page http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/fra.../features.html seems to indicate that you can map styles or create new ones when importing from Word. See also https://helpx.adobe.com/framemaker/t...ort-video.html
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Thanks Andrew. I've done some testing since, and a lot of reading and viewing. You're right that it won't import anything 'extra' in Word templates, only the styles--but that's what I'm after. There is a style mapping function which I saw somewhere--that's a manual task I was hoping to avoid.

    There's considerable learning curve, the jargon is different to anything I've met before [eg I think styles are called tags, and UI panels are called pods, etc] and the interface has a generally old-school feel to it. I get the impression that while Adobe are releasing new versions every 18 months, it's not a product they're making much effort with.

    The attraction is that if I had sufficient time to learn it--and it works as advertised--FM would provide an end-to-end solution for me. From automatic update of books when component parts change, to new versions of output files ready for distribution. The next release should be next January, so I'll revisit next year.

    Fyi I've looked at many other alternatives in the 'document assembly', 'conditional content' and 'multiple output' sectors. The other which caught my eye is MadCap Flare, because it's the only other end-to-end candidate with a price in my range. Flare seems a lot more modern than Framemaker, and it's no harm it's obviously one of the company's priority products.

    I would have tested Flare except they have a really stupid trial policy--any files you make during the trial month will be damaged. I can't afford a month's work going to waste if I decide against their product.
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    IMO style mapping is a necessary evil. Framemaker does styles in a much more consistent way than Word and you will need to tinker with imported style settings to get them just right. For instance, if you have a style for numbered lists in Word, you will need two styles in Framemaker (one to restart numbering and one to continue it within that list). Word achieves list restarts by putting in a local formatting setting which is problematic when pasting chunks of text into other documents or resetting paragraph attributes.

    Flare is a good package which I have evaluated a few times but like you, I've never bitten the bullet to actually buy and use on a paid job. I thought that while evaluating, the Flare files you create are not damaged in themselves but any exports you create have random text included. This should mean that you could do real work that isn't wasted but will need to buy it before delivering an output to a customer.

    I have also used AuthorIT years ago but nowdays you need to have a consultation session to even look at it. From what I've seen, it is now priced beyond what I'm prepared to pay.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Lockton View Post
    I thought that while evaluating, the Flare files you create are not damaged in themselves but any exports you create have random text included. This should mean that you could do real work that isn't wasted but will need to buy it before delivering an output to a customer.
    You are correct, Andrew. From my very helpful Flare contact:
    "These random characters in the output are just scrambled text, this is only seen in the Flare Output not within the editor or import. This is only for the trial version and to prevent FREE use of the software and piracy. Also, it will not dramatically affect the overall look and feel of the output. To unscramble the text you would just need to insert an active Flare license."

    There are 3 problems in that for me, from least important to most:
    1. I'm not used to software companies assuming I'm a thief, plus I rarely bother to evaluate crippleware;
    2. I would be dependent on their license activation correctly repairing the damage--not wise for important time-sensitive work;
    3. If I decided against buying Flare, I would have no usable content after my month's work--I just can't afford such a loss.

    That said, Flare is aimed at large companies needing multiple installations, not small fry like me. So if you have IT people or user specialists who can realistically run a good trial in a month [it would take me probably 6 months of stop-start to evaluate], then my limited experience suggests MadCap are a good company to deal with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Lockton View Post
    I have also used AuthorIT years ago but nowdays you need to have a consultation session to even look at it. From what I've seen, it is now priced beyond what I'm prepared to pay.
    Agreed, I looked and left.

    Fwiw in case someone else might need to ferret out what's available, here are some notes I made over the past couple of months' research, from a small biz perspective:

    DoxserᎠ— Intelligent Document Automation Software $129 per year

    Extended from The Form Tool, this looks very easy to use, installs itself as an add-on for Word. Based on the same form approach, can save previous jobs to load them again for a rebuild.
    [This is the other software I read up and tested a fair bit. Nice that it's a Word plug-in and has a nice ribbon tab UI, plus excellent PDF manual and lots of videos. What I didn't like was that all content had to be 'inserted' into Doxsera's own 'containers'--ie it couldn't use [or even import] the hundreds of files I need managed. That's:
    1) A big waste of my time;
    2) Not a wise thing to do, locking one's content in a proprietary format]

    Unlikely Candidates

    Probably Not

    Pathagoras $379
    First glance, this doesn't appeal.

    "Works with all version of Word (32 bit version only). Operating Systems: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista and Windows7 (32 or 64 bit) "
    Win10???

    Each license entitles a user to install the program on one 'main' computer and on one 'secondary' computer owned by the user.

    XpressDox $350

    Hmm, dunno. Looks like a complicated template authoring system. Back of the queue.

    Definitely Not
    Exari DocGen

    ProDoc
    Not for us.
    Price by quote only, obviously geared to lawyers, includes updates as laws change.

    Document Assembly Suite
    No pricing.

    HotDocs
    Not for us, seems aimed at IT and Enterprise.

    Clio
    Cloud based, for lawyers.

    SmartDocs
    Last edited by Lugh; 2016-09-29 at 16:35.
    Lugh.
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