Disable manual formatting

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Disable manual formatting

Unread postby Robert Echtler » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:17 pm

Especially in multi-user environments, it would be helpful if manual formatting could be disabled to force the writers to use styles. Some people tend to click on the formatting buttons instead of using the appropriate defined style, even if you tell them over and over again :-(
For me it would be sufficient if you could disable manual formatting just by an option within preferences (no read/write management, password protection, etc. needed).
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Re: Disable manual formatting

Unread postby Andreas Boettcher » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:49 pm

I agree.

We have a lot of SMEs/contributors who tend to use manual formatting.
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Re: Disable manual formatting

Unread postby Simon Dismore » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:47 pm

Robert Echtler wrote:It would be helpful if manual formatting could be disabled to force the writers to use styles.

In days gone by I wondered about having a single-topic editing tool – basically a radically cut-down version of the Pro editor – that contributors could use. I'd envisage it having only:
  • File ribbon: Open xml topic file; Close; Save; Save As; Exit; maybe Version Control?
  • Project ribbon: Topic status; Print topic; Spell Check current topic; Screen Capture; maybe Image Editor?
  • Write ribbon: Clipboard commands; Find & Replace; Apply Styles; Insert Link, Media, Comment, Anchor, Symbol, QR Code.
  • Table ribbon: everything?
  • View ribbon: Appearance commands.
  • Help ribbon: Online Help; About Help & Manual.
  • There's no TOC and no support for editing hmxz files, project configuration, XML source or Topic Options.
I'm supposing that the license would allow the cut-down editor to be distributed to any number of contributors. Price is t.b.d., could be a free of charge addition to the Pro license, assuming that wouldn't cannibalize additional author seats.

Would something like that be helpful?
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Re: Disable manual formatting

Unread postby Tim Green » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:23 am

This is an issue that we're actually considering, along with the introduction of Tidy XML coming in 7.3 and the new Normalize Styles function coming in PP Toolbox to be released at the same time, which enables you to integrate styles imported from HTML into your stylesheet and strip manual formatting globally.

However, it's also a very complex issue and there are a lot of side problems and potential unintended consequences that need to be considered. First and foremost, of course, what to do with existing projects already full of manual formatting. If we do introduce something like this, which isn't a given yet, it would have to be with a major version update.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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