Versions of FrameMaker after FrameMaker 7.2 introduced two potent features that could be reason alone to upgrade to FrameMaker 12: (a) track changes and (b) ability to import PDF review comments and annotations “in place” in the source FrameMaker document. Both of the features streamline the edit and review process substantially. Sample documents used for screen captures in this blog prove that FrameMaker 12’s PDF Review cycle (importation of comments) can actually reduce time for that process by 75% compared to FrameMaker 7.2!
Track changes in FrameMaker
The simple tool bar shown below gives you the ability to “turn on” track changes. Icons in the left section of the toolbar enable you to toggle between a preview of the “final” version (after insertions and deletions) or the “original” version.
If you leave the preview off, insertions will appear as green underlined text and deleted text will appear as red and underlined. The icons in the right section of the toolbar above let you seek the next change, accept or deny that change, or even to accept or reject all changes. In short, the interface and functionality is familiar and cosmetically similar to a feature found in Microsoft Word.
The screen capture below shows what “in progress” editing looks like when track changes are turned on in FrameMaker 12.
Notice that the red box in the lower left corner of the workspace indicates who made the change and at what time.
PDF Review workflow: import PDF comments in place
FrameMaker 12 has an easy and accessible way to swiftly and accurately review document content via free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Incidentally, Tech Comm Suite enables an even more powerful PDF Review cycle than stand-alone FrameMaker: you can have collaborative review and PDF annotations made by multiple reviewers on a single PDF file located on a server or “in the cloud.”
The following is a summary of steps you would perform if you only have FrameMaker and not Tech Comm Suite:
- Save the FrameMaker 12 document as PDF
- Use Acrobat to resave the document as Reader Extended PDF that enables Commenting
- In free Acrobat Reader or full Acrobat, the reviewers can subsequently make comments and annotations indicating insertions, deletions, etc., as shown in the screen capture below.
- Once all comments are complete, the FrameMaker user can import PDF comments from multiple users back into the source FrameMaker 12 files. The insertions and deletions indicated in PDF annotations will appear as track changes, as shown in the screen capture below.
- The FrameMaker users can individually accept or reject changes, or with one click accept ALL changes, as shown in the resulting screen capture below.
Many additional steps required for PDF review in earlier releases
Since FrameMaker 7.2 does not have a feature that will effectively import PDF review annotations in place, the basic method would be to have the annotated PDF document side-by-side with the FrameMaker 7.2 source file:
- the editor would select each PDF annotation
- select and copy the text
- carefully locate the correct insertion point in the FrameMaker document
- paste the text from the PDF annotation
- repeat this process for all subsequent annotations
The screen captures below summarize the steps required in FrameMaker 7.2 for one simple correction based on an insertion annotation in a PDF file.
Actual time savings documented with identical documents
The same document was used in both FrameMaker 7.2 and FrameMaker 12 to create the screen captures for this blog. In both cases, I actually made the physical edits (a) using copy/paste from PDF to insertion point in FrameMaker 7.2 and (b) with importation of PDF comments in FrameMaker 12, and subsequent track changes commands to accept changes. The method in FrameMaker 7.2 took 80 seconds while the new workflow in FrameMaker 12 took only 20 seconds. That is a savings of 75%.
Return-on-investment (ROI) quickly becomes self-evident if you make hundreds of such review/corrections throughout the year.
Have your own hands-on with FrameMaker 12 and decide how you can use it
Adobe Technical Communication Suite 5 includes FrameMaker 12, which is an excellent authoring solution and also a versatile structured editor for DITA/XML. The possibilities with these new tools are as limitless as the profiles of our existing and potential customers. To discover how you can use FrameMaker, download a trial copy of FrameMaker 12 today. After having your own hands-on, you may decide in favor of the best bargain of all, obtaining a cloud subscription to the entire Tech Comm Suite 5, which includes RoboHelp 11, Captivate and other products in addition to FrameMaker 12.