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13 December 2003 @ 01:54 pm
Marketing Departments and Computer Software Manuals  

So I'm researching using InDesign to create a document which will be published in both pdf and html. I, of course, want to know not just whether and how, but also how well … and, you know, perhaps a few details about some logical questions/concerns. So I'm reading the splendiferous InDesign User Manual. It helpfully points out that with the Documents option within the Export HTML dialog box, I can choose either to 1) Export as a Single HTML Document (thus creating a single HTML file from the specified page, range of pages, or whole document) or to 2) Export as Multiple HTML Documents (which creates individual HTML files for each page in the document, etc.). This is a good thing — I probably wouldn't have thought about the fact that I don't want my 400+ page document to be presented as a single HTML page until I got to the Export to HTML point of the process.

However, why doesn't it go on to discuss the next obvious question: Is there a way I can set up my document so that each HTML page automatically contains hyperlinks to the next and previous page (perhaps by placing on the Master Page a special "previous" and "next" marker, just as it contains a special page-number marker for specifying the style and location of the automatic page number)? Is it because it can't and I'll need to manually adjust each HTML page? Because didn't want to make the User Guide overly thick and confusing? Or maybe they wanted to ensure a market for third-party manual writers.

Come to think of it, much of the manual reads as if it was written, or at least rewritten, by the Adobe marketing department. You know, lots of "you can" and "it's easy to." Here's a good one: "Exporting a document to HTML can be as simple as using the default settings, or as customized as you need it to be."

Why, oh why, didn't they just make it as complete as humanly possible? If it then appeared too daunting or scary, they could have written on the cover, in big friendly blue letters, the legend:

DON'T PANIC

 
 
Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Dana Gillespie: Hot Stuff
 
 
 
Geri Sullivangerisullivan on December 13th, 2003 07:41 pm (UTC)
Speaking of manuals, I'll drop in to mention that I found the box that the Sony Discman car CD player came in, and the manual you were asking about a few months ago is inside. I put your name on the box and added it to the rapidly-growing piles in the front hall.

Don't know if it will be any more complete than Adobe's manuals, but I hope it's better than no manual at all.
Haniahaniaw on December 15th, 2003 11:32 am (UTC)
I use RoboHelp to do single sourcing and then output to multiple formats. When you output to HTML it creates an HTML Help application with a table of contents, index and back/next buttons on the individual pages (if you want).

...Hania