Managing Instructor's and student's manuals

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Managing Instructor's and student's manuals

Unread postby wfz » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:37 pm

I'm not a H&M user yet. Someone directed me to H&M. Before making a decision, I'd like to make sure we can solve our problems with this software.

We're trying to find a better way to create 2 manuals (instructor and student) for classroom training.

Instructor's manual:
The left page (even number) is the instructor's portion with notes (what to say) for lecture. The right page (odd number) is the student's portion with page numbers that instructor can refer to (matching student's manual). They usually match one to one but sometimes instructors portion may have more pages.

Student's manual is easier with all the pages in one document.

It's a big hassle to create the instructor's manual.
Currently we create the manual by manually insert the student's portion into the document. If revisions are needed, you have to revise both documents. The page numbers does not match student's manual either.

We're looking for a solution that would make the task easier.
1) editing student and instructor's content separately.
2) merge the content of both into an instructor's manual when it is ready to be printed. some requirements:
a. some kind of mark (maybe a watermark or gray bar on instructor's pages) to indicate instructor's portion.
b. Be able to have custom numbering (instead of 1 to xxx with continous numbering) so the numbering on student's portion matches the actual student manual.

Can Help and Manual (or another software) meet the requirements?

Thanks a lot for your advice.

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Unread postby Tim Green » Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:48 pm

Hi "wfz",

You could easily handle the different content portions with H&M's conditional output features. You would just need to create a user-defined build condition in Project > Project Properties > Common Properties > Custom Builds for the additional tutor material and tag the instructor-only content with it using Insert - Conditional Text. To compile the student version you would then deactivate the "instructor" condition in the Compile dialog, to compile the instructor version you would activate it.

The problem is the different facing pages and the page numbers. It is not possible to have two different versions of the same text on facing pages, nor is it possible to have two sets of different page numbers for the same document.
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Unread postby Dean Whitlock » Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:38 pm

Hi wfz and Tim,

If this is only for printed/PDF output, I believe you would be able to force the pages to line up properly by inserting manual page breaks, although it would be tricky to set up the first time. For each topic, you would have:

Instructor page 1
page break
Student facing page 1
page break
Instructor page 2
page break
Student facing page 2
page break

...and so on. The trick is knowing exactly where the pages will break in the PDF. (Hopefully version 5 will have a facility that allows a quick, on-screen preview without having to go through a complete compile.) The Instructor pages, including their page breaks, would be within one set of conditionals and the Student pages, also including their page breaks, would be within another set of conditionals. (This would allow you the most flexibility in producing separate output for review.) The Instructor pages could have a style with a distinctive background. However, the page numbering would still be an issue.

I can't think of any other software that would do the trick automatically.

Good luck,
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Unread postby bennett » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:18 pm

Dear wfz, Tim and Dean,

I have a 500 page manual which I produce in several different varieties. The one master document can produce a manual for:

Client 1
Client 2
Client 3
Client 4

Each client version contains client speific material and is produced in two versions, a Student version and a Trainers' Version - the latter containing all of the material in the student version plus notes for trainers. I've been using the technique sescribed by Tim for some time and I've never had a problem with it. The "Custom Build" capability within H&M works like a dream.

I've never tried to separate out the pages as required by wfz. I keep the Trainers' material at the back of the manual.

Hope this helps.

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Unread postby wfz » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:26 pm

Thank you all for the advice. I will download H&M and give it a try.


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