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How do we duplicate FM books and retain cross-references?

Feb 22, 2013 8:38 AM

We are using FrameMaker 10 in a Windows 7 environment.


This post is related to an earlier post of mine:


Note: To resolve this issue, we are willing to completely reorganize our folder structures or our user guides themselves.


We have the following contraints:


1. Our clients often require us to give them user guides in Microsoft Word, so they can edit the content as they customize the product over the years.


2. So, to avoid giving our clients Word documents that are in the vicinity of 500 to 600 pages in length (which often makes Word documents unstable), we break apart our user guides into two different guides: A procedure guide with step by step processes, and a guide that lists all windows and all window elements (tabs, fields, buttons, etc.).


3. The procedure guide has several dozen cross-references to the windows guide.


4. When we create WebHelp with RoboHelp, we combine the two guides together so the cross-references in the procedures are working hyperlinks to the corresponding window descriptions.


And then we have one more constraint.


Because we customize our product and user guides/online help for all of our clients, we start with a "baseline" starting point.  We have a "baseline" procedure guide, and a "baseline" windows guide.  So, we have to duplicate both of those guides to start customizing it for each client.  The customization changes about 40% of the starting "baseline" content, and we have several concurrent contracts with various clients (so, we don't want to solve the problem I describe here by continually adding new conditional text to the baseline content every time we start customizing content for a new client).


So, we duplicate the two books when we start the customization process for a new client.  We duplicate the procedure guide, and we duplicate the windows guide.


As you can imagine, we can use the "save as" technique in FM to preserve the cross-references that are internal within a single book, but we cannot figure out how to preserve the cross-references from the procedure guide to the windows guide.  We end up having to manually fix all cross-references in the procedure guide that point to the windows guide.


Does anyone have an idea how we can regularly duplicate the original "baseline" books, and preserve the cross-references from the procedures guide to the windows guide?


Thank you in advance for any ideas.




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