Conversion Proofing to Help & Manaul

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ww+sp177
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:11 am

Conversion Proofing to Help & Manaul

Unread post by ww+sp177 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:19 pm

Hello,

We are looking for technical help to convert PDF and Word manuals to Help & Manual. We would also like proofing of the converted material to match the originals, ready for publication.

Thank you,
LT

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Tim Green
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Re: Conversion Proofing to Help & Manaul

Unread post by Tim Green » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:51 am

Hi LT,

You can't convert PDF to anything because it is not a document format. It is just raw printer output in a file. Converting it to anything else is like trying to unscramble eggs. It can't really be done. Your only option there is to try to convert it to Word RTF with Adobe Acrobat Pro, then re-save it to RTF again with Word, then import to Help+Manual. However, be warned that even Acrobat's conversion will look nothing at all like the original with everything but the most simple, plain text PDF files. That is just the nature of PDF conversion. PDF is not a format you can use as an import source for anything except plain text.

Converting Word is easier. You just make sure that all your chapter and topic headings use the standard Word Heading 1 ... Heading 6 paragraph styles, save as Rich Text (RTF) and then import in Help+Manual. There are some things that won't import, such as anything in containers like text boxes, and you will generally need to do some formatting after importing. How much depends on your use of styles in your Word document and how disciplined you were in using styles. If you use a lot of manual formatting instead of styles Word will generate a huge amount of inline manual formatting code on import, which will be many, many times larger than the actual text it formats. You can check this by looking in the XML tab on the left of the topic editor in Help+Manual. If that happens it is best to just completely reset and reformat everything with styles in Help+Manual, because carrying all that inline code forward will just result in a bloated project.

See this chapter in the Help+Manual documentation for full details on importing data:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/help/hm_w ... tdata.html
We would also like proofing of the converted material to match the originals, ready for publication.
I would also like next week's lottery numbers. 8) That is not going to happen. No matter what you import, you are going to have to do a certain degree of manual formatting and tweaking after importing and you are also going to have to work on your templates for publication in Help+Manual. No program can give you 1:1 formatting congruence on converting between formats. Also, since Help+Manual is a single-source, multiple-output solution it must separate content and formatting almost entirely. Your text formatting will be pretty much the same as in your original, but your layout needs to be stored in separate templates, and those are Help+Manual templates.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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