How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

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How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby chfrmeyer » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:00 pm

We're in the process of sub-contracting another company for some of our documentation work.

An offer by them mentions InDesign as their authoring platform. H&M doesn't Import directly from InDesign. Does anyone have a helpful suggestion about the best way to take over documentation from InDesign?
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Tim Green » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:01 pm

Hi Chfr,

Does anyone have a helpful suggestion about the best way to take over documentation from InDesign?

You need to check what output formats InDesign can produce (we're not familiar with it). If it can output to Word that would be ideal: Then you can save the exported file in Word and import to a Help+Manual project along with the entire stylesheet. Second best would be HTML. This will import all the formatting but it will be applied as inline formatting and you would need to create styles from model paragraphs after importing.

See here in the help for instructions:

https://helpandmanual.com/help/index.ht ... rtdata.htm

These topics cover turning formatting into styles and applying them:

https://helpandmanual.com/help/index.ht ... ection.htm
https://helpandmanual.com/help/index.ht ... ported.htm
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Simon_Dismore » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:10 pm

Tim Green wrote:You need to check what output formats InDesign can produce

Adobe InDesign CC 13.1 x64 export types.png

Tim Green wrote:we're not familiar with it

As a supplier of documentation software, wouldn't it make sense for EC-Software to invest in a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription?
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Tim Green » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:05 am

Given those formats, HTML is the best option for importing. 8)
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Kimberly Hitchens » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:11 pm

Tim:

A couple of thoughts.

InDesign can output Word, but it's on a "story by story" (chapters, basically) basis, a workaround. (There are idiots out there who actually suggest exporting to PDF and then "converting" the PDF to Word, but as this is my area of expertise, I can tell you that that's pretty much a disaster seeking a place to happen.) Also, the "Word" is not very simple nor clean; you'd have to spend a lot of time cleaning it.

The better option is to export to reflowable ePUB. Clean that up in something like Sigil, to eliminate the spans and the like. You'll need some expertise in HTML and ePUB formats. Then join the entire file together (merge the html/xhtml files into a single HTML file, inside the ePUB). Then unzip the ePUB, and import the resulting HTML file into Word. That's the best way to do this sort of work, unless you want to take the resulting INDD-generated PDF and scan/OCR it with something like Abbyy. Yes, really--people think I'm nuts when I say that, and respond "BUT, but, but, you can save a PDF as Word!," and think that's fine. But the Word files that are exported from Acrobat, whether Pro or Reader, or any of those "convert your PDF files to Word!" websites are all utter crap. The cleanup takes longer than it would take to type the thing anew.

Simon wrote:
As a supplier of documentation software, wouldn't it make sense for EC-Software to invest in a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription?


I use INDD extensively, and H&M. I see no correlation whatsoever. InDesign is layout software, used for all sorts of printed materials, right? H&M is help documentation software, designed to create its own outputs, whether HTML Help or PDFs. The two really aren't related or similar. After all, it's not like people type in INDD; even if they are true Adobe devotees, at best, they'll use InCopy, not InDesign--and I don't know anyone in the business that does that. Everyone uses Word or Pages or Open Office/Libre Office, Wordperfect (yes, still), and the like, for your basic typing. Then they import the file into INDD, and work on the layout--only--from there. Sure, they make the occasional edits and all that, but INDD isn't a word-processor; it's for layout after the word-processing has been completed. I really don't see any native or organic intersection between INDD and H&M, nor why H&M would need to integrate with INDD, other than the occasional odd situation, like yours, where you have INDD Files, only--not source files--to incorporate into H&M. I'm sure it's a major headache for you, but...I wonder how often that really happens? I'd think that the people who wrote the materials for the Guide/manual that you're trying to integrate still have those source files, right? If for no other reason than, they want to have them to update, revise, and the like? No possibility of getting those?

Anyway--try the export to ePUB (reflowable only!), and the ensuing steps. That will probably get you further than trying the PDF, with all due respect to Tim. He's probably thinking that the PDF output might be fewer steps for you, but the results would be better the other route, if you're seeking to have clean files.

HTH,
Hitch
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Simon_Dismore » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:18 am

Kimberly Hitchens wrote:Simon wrote:
As a supplier of documentation software, wouldn't it make sense for EC-Software to invest in a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription?
I use INDD extensively, and H&M. I see no correlation whatsoever.

I was thinking of all the types of image files and video files directly supported by EC-Software's software, i.e. BMP, EMF, GIF, JPG, M4V, MP4, PNG, PSD, SVG, SWF, and WMF.

Adobe's Creative Suite apps are widespread (often the most popular) professional tools for editing many of those file types.
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Tim Green » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:37 am

Hi Hitch,

Anyway--try the export to ePUB (reflowable only!), and the ensuing steps. That will probably get you further than trying the PDF, with all due respect to Tim. He's probably thinking that the PDF output might be fewer steps for you, but the results would be better the other route, if you're seeking to have clean files.

Do we have wires crossed here? I would never suggest trying to import PDF, that's like trying to unscramble eggs. My suggestion was to import HTML, if Word isn't available. Unpacking the HTML in ePub would be similar, if that is the only way to get the entire project into HTML efficiently.
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby chfrmeyer » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:24 pm

Thanks a lot to you People for your thoughts and suggestions. Though my attention was off for a few days, I very much appreciate them.

@Simon_Dismore:
Your first reply includes a menu display which, among others, offers XML as an export format.

@Anyone_who_reads_this:
Do you have an idea how close the XML export would be to usability with Help&Manual? After all, XML isn't the same as XML...

Regards,
Christoph alias chfrmeyer
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Simon_Dismore » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:05 pm

chfrmeyer wrote:@Simon_Dismore: Your first reply includes a menu display which, among others, offers XML as an export format.... Do you have an idea how close the XML export would be to usability with Help&Manual? After all, XML isn't the same as XML...

It's technically possible to export XML from InDesign (see "Postscript" below), but I wouldn't go that route in your case.

If you already have content in InDesign, HTML would be the best way to transfer it to H&M. Before exporting, for each paragraph style you must set the 'export tagging' option so it knows what element to use, e.g. <h1>, <p> etc. Here's example output:
Code: Select all
<body id="InDesign-to-HTML" lang="en-GB">
   <div id="_idContainer000" class="Basic-Text-Frame">
      <h1 class="Paragraph-Style-1">Heading in Paragraph Style 1</h1>
      <h2 class="Paragraph-Style-2">Subheading in Paragraph Style 2</h2>
      <p class="Basic-Paragraph">Body copy in Basic Paragraph the flowers that bloom in the spring, ...</p>
      <h2 class="Paragraph-Style-2">Subheading in Paragraph Style 2</h2>
      <p class="Basic-Paragraph">Body copy in Basic Paragraph a policeman’s lot is not a happy one, ...</p>
   </div>
</body>

If you are wondering whether to let a supplier create fresh content in InDesign, I think that's a terrible idea. H&M is already a far better editor for documentation, with great support for tables of content, topic links, external content and so on. I suggest your potential supplier tries using H&M Professional for a few hours and then explain why InDesign would be a better choice.

Postscript
To export XML you have to set up a tag structure in the InDesign document, then tag the text as it is entered. Here's an example export:
Code: Select all
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<Root>
  <Tag-Basic>
    <Tag1>This is a heading tagged 1</Tag1>
    <Tag2>This is a heading tagged 2</Tag2>
    <Tag-Basic>This is body copy tagged as basic</Tag-Basic>
  </Tag-Basic>
</Root>

You could then use a transformation to convert the exported file into xml that H&M could import as a topic. It might even be possible to
import a DTD for H&M (if available) so you'd could use compatible structure. But this is a horribly long-winded approach in my opinion.
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Re: How to take over an InDesign project in H&M?

Unread postby Kimberly Hitchens » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:42 pm

Tim Green wrote:Hi Hitch,

Anyway--try the export to ePUB (reflowable only!), and the ensuing steps. That will probably get you further than trying the PDF, with all due respect to Tim. He's probably thinking that the PDF output might be fewer steps for you, but the results would be better the other route, if you're seeking to have clean files.

Do we have wires crossed here? I would never suggest trying to import PDF, that's like trying to unscramble eggs. My suggestion was to import HTML, if Word isn't available. Unpacking the HTML in ePub would be similar, if that is the only way to get the entire project into HTML efficiently.


No, I don't think so--I was simply addressing things I'd seen around the Net--"save as PDF and then..." I certainly wasn't saying that you said that. Sorry if you thought that, truly.

Seriously, I would suggest export to reflowable ePUB, edit that and merge the exported parts (if any) in Sigil; unzip the ePUB, extract the HTML, open that in Word, and thence to H&M.

@Simon: yes, of course, the Creative Suite has many fabulous image-manipulation tools, but I must have confused something--I thought that the topic was about integrating with/to INDD. We use INDD ourselves, daily, in my business. I was trying to think how those two (INDD and H&M) would work together, and I confess, I don't really see a good way for that to happen. FWIW.

Hitch
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