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Ricki Miles Ricki Miles is offline
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Default Changes to manual

I am using Word XP and need to maintain several manuals ("Emergency
Preparedness Plans" and "Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance" manuals)
for generating stations.
There are essentially two levels of updates: simple and comprehensive. The
simple updates cover changes to names and contact info, org charts, and
responsibilities and these can be (should be) carried out at least annually.
The more comprehensive updates involve more significant revisions to and
rewriting of the text and take a fair bit more time to complete. The pages
all have a date of when the manual was issued in the footer. The manuals
have a log or revision record in the appendices to track changes.

What is a reasonable process for making minor updates (i.e., replace only a
few pages of the manual) so that we don't have to reprint the entire manual
every time a revision is made? I would think that the revised pages having
the new date of revision in the footer, replace the old page, and that those
pages are identified in the revision log. The title page (cover page) also
contains a date that would need to be updated. How do you minimize confusion
when some of the pages in the manual have differing dates from one another
and from the title page? What about the major revisions?

The manuals are also provided on a company intranet. Should the electronic
manual be identical (with respect to varying dates in the footers) as the
hard copy?

TIA,

Ricki




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Robert M. Franz (RMF) Robert M. Franz (RMF) is offline
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Posts: 1,741
Default Changes to manual

Hello Ricki

Ricki Miles wrote:
I am using Word XP and need to maintain several manuals ("Emergency
Preparedness Plans" and "Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance" manuals)
for generating stations.
There are essentially two levels of updates: simple and comprehensive. The
simple updates cover changes to names and contact info, org charts, and
responsibilities and these can be (should be) carried out at least annually.
The more comprehensive updates involve more significant revisions to and
rewriting of the text and take a fair bit more time to complete. The pages
all have a date of when the manual was issued in the footer. The manuals
have a log or revision record in the appendices to track changes.


You might want to read up what John McGhie writes in the following
article (you might want to read up the whole article, in fact):

Creating a Template (Part II, by John McGhie)
http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/Customizat...platePart2.htm

quote
Look up Longford Disaster, Esso and Melbourne on the web and read all
about how Exxon (Esso’s parent company) managed to send a thousand
million dollars and several of their staff up in a puff of smoke doing this.
/quote

If your manual is really about "Emergency", then don't even consider
going the "page" way. Users hate to complete manuals with their
respective correction pages, usually don't do it at all, and will more
likely sit in front of an outdated manual once the alarm bell is
starting to ring.

[Even the Swiss Army stopped handing out correction pages; these
consisted of paragraphs which you had to cut out and glue over the old
sections -- and that was for bookkeeping manuals! -- Actually, it was a
good excercise having to do this because then you had at least seen
every updated rule :-)]


What is a reasonable process for making minor updates (i.e., replace only a
few pages of the manual) so that we don't have to reprint the entire manual
every time a revision is made? I would think that the revised pages having
the new date of revision in the footer, replace the old page, and that those
pages are identified in the revision log. The title page (cover page) also
contains a date that would need to be updated. How do you minimize confusion
when some of the pages in the manual have differing dates from one another
and from the title page? What about the major revisions?

[..]

If you really have to work page-oriented like this, consider using
another product. Word is notoriously bad at this sort of task: it's used
to laying out all content anew each time you look away, in any case each
time you delete a paragraph or even a word. Even though it has become
better with each version (if the right compatibility options is set), it
is even worse when you try switching printer (drivers); so, if you
cannot guarantee to always use the same printer throughout the lifetime
of your document (something which you normally cannot do at all), don't
try it with Word: you would be forced to treat each page as a separate
section, possibly. You then loose all the benefit of a word processor.

I suggest reprints in whole. With a writer's section at the start or end
indicating all changes of each revision, going back a couple of years


The manuals are also provided on a company intranet. Should the electronic
manual be identical (with respect to varying dates in the footers) as the
hard copy?


In what form: HTML, PDF, ...? You don't have a footer in HTML (at least
not comparable to a paper footer).

2cents
Robert
--
/"\ ASCII Ribbon Campaign | MS
\ / | MVP
X Against HTML | for
/ \ in e-mail & news | Word
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Ricki Miles Ricki Miles is offline
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Posts: 50
Default Changes to manual

Thank you so much for your valuable advice!

Ricki

"Robert M. Franz (RMF)" wrote in message
...
Hello Ricki

Ricki Miles wrote:
I am using Word XP and need to maintain several manuals ("Emergency
Preparedness Plans" and "Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance"
manuals) for generating stations.
There are essentially two levels of updates: simple and comprehensive.
The simple updates cover changes to names and contact info, org charts,
and responsibilities and these can be (should be) carried out at least
annually. The more comprehensive updates involve more significant
revisions to and rewriting of the text and take a fair bit more time to
complete. The pages all have a date of when the manual was issued in the
footer. The manuals have a log or revision record in the appendices to
track changes.


You might want to read up what John McGhie writes in the following article
(you might want to read up the whole article, in fact):

Creating a Template (Part II, by John McGhie)
http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/Customizat...platePart2.htm

quote
Look up Longford Disaster, Esso and Melbourne on the web and read all
about how Exxon (Esso’s parent company) managed to send a thousand million
dollars and several of their staff up in a puff of smoke doing this.
/quote

If your manual is really about "Emergency", then don't even consider going
the "page" way. Users hate to complete manuals with their respective
correction pages, usually don't do it at all, and will more likely sit in
front of an outdated manual once the alarm bell is starting to ring.

[Even the Swiss Army stopped handing out correction pages; these consisted
of paragraphs which you had to cut out and glue over the old sections --
and that was for bookkeeping manuals! -- Actually, it was a good excercise
having to do this because then you had at least seen every updated rule
:-)]


What is a reasonable process for making minor updates (i.e., replace only
a few pages of the manual) so that we don't have to reprint the entire
manual every time a revision is made? I would think that the revised
pages having the new date of revision in the footer, replace the old
page, and that those pages are identified in the revision log. The title
page (cover page) also contains a date that would need to be updated. How
do you minimize confusion when some of the pages in the manual have
differing dates from one another and from the title page? What about the
major revisions?

[..]

If you really have to work page-oriented like this, consider using another
product. Word is notoriously bad at this sort of task: it's used to laying
out all content anew each time you look away, in any case each time you
delete a paragraph or even a word. Even though it has become better with
each version (if the right compatibility options is set), it is even worse
when you try switching printer (drivers); so, if you cannot guarantee to
always use the same printer throughout the lifetime of your document
(something which you normally cannot do at all), don't try it with Word:
you would be forced to treat each page as a separate section, possibly.
You then loose all the benefit of a word processor.

I suggest reprints in whole. With a writer's section at the start or end
indicating all changes of each revision, going back a couple of years


The manuals are also provided on a company intranet. Should the
electronic manual be identical (with respect to varying dates in the
footers) as the hard copy?


In what form: HTML, PDF, ...? You don't have a footer in HTML (at least
not comparable to a paper footer).

2cents
Robert
--
/"\ ASCII Ribbon Campaign | MS
\ / | MVP
X Against HTML | for
/ \ in e-mail & news | Word



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John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] is offline
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Posts: 506
Default Changes to manual

Hi Ricki:

These are critical operational manuals you are thinking of updating, right?

No matter what updates you do, we ALWAYS replace the entire manual with each
update.

The reason has nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with
"people". People simply never insert the replacement pages. This means
that your critical procedural manuals get into an "unknown" state, each copy
slightly different. If you don't believe me, take a walk through the
operational divisions of your company. See all those sad little piles of
replacement pages sitting on the shelves? Yep: they never get into the
manuals. Operations staff simply haven't got the time...

To see what happens next, click he
http://www.cch.com.au/fe_ps_details....id=1080&bhcp=1

If you Google for "Esso Longford Gas Melbourne" you will get a working
demonstration of how a company managed to save nearly a hundred dollars in
the cost of paper by maintaining their procedure manuals using page
replacement. They then spent $2,000,000.00 in fines, $32,500,000.00 in
compensation, and caused industry losses of $1,300,000,000.00.

The Exxon Board has subsequently had great difficulty convincing its
shareholders that this was a good economic decision :-)

Do not bother marking the dates in the text where changes have been made.
That only makes the manual hard to read, and people trying to use it
couldn't give a stuff when it updated, so long as it is now correct.
However, you need to keep an accurate record in the documentation section of
WHO updated WHAT, WHEN, and WHY. I suggest that you make a spreadsheet
recording each change.

The Intranet copy can be produced by Saving the printed copy to HTML. Split
it into chunks at each heading so the thing loads in a reasonable time. On
the intranet, there will be no headers or footers: HTML doesn't have them.

You can very quickly use Word to save as a website if you know how. I can
save a 500-page manual to a website in less than four hours. That's about
the budget you will get to do this job, and with the costs that low, you can
afford to maintain the intranet every time you update the paper copy.

It is critical that the intranet version that is quick and cheap to produce.
Trying to build it as a proper website simply costs far too much: you will
never get approval for the cost or effort involved, nobody will ever
maintain it, and thus nobody will ever use it. Don't go there :-)

Hope this helps


On 8/7/06 11:36 PM, in article , "Ricki
Miles" wrote:

I am using Word XP and need to maintain several manuals ("Emergency
Preparedness Plans" and "Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance" manuals)
for generating stations.
There are essentially two levels of updates: simple and comprehensive. The
simple updates cover changes to names and contact info, org charts, and
responsibilities and these can be (should be) carried out at least annually.
The more comprehensive updates involve more significant revisions to and
rewriting of the text and take a fair bit more time to complete. The pages
all have a date of when the manual was issued in the footer. The manuals
have a log or revision record in the appendices to track changes.

What is a reasonable process for making minor updates (i.e., replace only a
few pages of the manual) so that we don't have to reprint the entire manual
every time a revision is made? I would think that the revised pages having
the new date of revision in the footer, replace the old page, and that those
pages are identified in the revision log. The title page (cover page) also
contains a date that would need to be updated. How do you minimize confusion
when some of the pages in the manual have differing dates from one another
and from the title page? What about the major revisions?

The manuals are also provided on a company intranet. Should the electronic
manual be identical (with respect to varying dates in the footers) as the
hard copy?

TIA,

Ricki





--

Please reply to the newsgroup to maintain the thread. Please do not email
me unless I ask you to.

John McGhie
Microsoft MVP, Word and Word for Macintosh. Consultant Technical Writer
Sydney, Australia +61 (0) 4 1209 1410

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John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] is offline
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Posts: 506
Default Changes to manual

Hi Robert:

Ooops... I'm going blind :-) I didn't see that you had already answered it
:-)

Cheers


On 9/7/06 4:38 AM, in article , "Robert M.
Franz (RMF)" wrote:

Hello Ricki

Ricki Miles wrote:
I am using Word XP and need to maintain several manuals ("Emergency
Preparedness Plans" and "Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance" manuals)
for generating stations.
There are essentially two levels of updates: simple and comprehensive. The
simple updates cover changes to names and contact info, org charts, and
responsibilities and these can be (should be) carried out at least annually.
The more comprehensive updates involve more significant revisions to and
rewriting of the text and take a fair bit more time to complete. The pages
all have a date of when the manual was issued in the footer. The manuals
have a log or revision record in the appendices to track changes.


You might want to read up what John McGhie writes in the following
article (you might want to read up the whole article, in fact):

Creating a Template (Part II, by John McGhie)
http://word.mvps.org/FAQs/Customizat...platePart2.htm

quote
Look up Longford Disaster, Esso and Melbourne on the web and read all
about how Exxon (Esso¹s parent company) managed to send a thousand
million dollars and several of their staff up in a puff of smoke doing this.
/quote

If your manual is really about "Emergency", then don't even consider
going the "page" way. Users hate to complete manuals with their
respective correction pages, usually don't do it at all, and will more
likely sit in front of an outdated manual once the alarm bell is
starting to ring.

[Even the Swiss Army stopped handing out correction pages; these
consisted of paragraphs which you had to cut out and glue over the old
sections -- and that was for bookkeeping manuals! -- Actually, it was a
good excercise having to do this because then you had at least seen
every updated rule :-)]


What is a reasonable process for making minor updates (i.e., replace only a
few pages of the manual) so that we don't have to reprint the entire manual
every time a revision is made? I would think that the revised pages having
the new date of revision in the footer, replace the old page, and that those
pages are identified in the revision log. The title page (cover page) also
contains a date that would need to be updated. How do you minimize confusion
when some of the pages in the manual have differing dates from one another
and from the title page? What about the major revisions?

[..]

If you really have to work page-oriented like this, consider using
another product. Word is notoriously bad at this sort of task: it's used
to laying out all content anew each time you look away, in any case each
time you delete a paragraph or even a word. Even though it has become
better with each version (if the right compatibility options is set), it
is even worse when you try switching printer (drivers); so, if you
cannot guarantee to always use the same printer throughout the lifetime
of your document (something which you normally cannot do at all), don't
try it with Word: you would be forced to treat each page as a separate
section, possibly. You then loose all the benefit of a word processor.

I suggest reprints in whole. With a writer's section at the start or end
indicating all changes of each revision, going back a couple of years


The manuals are also provided on a company intranet. Should the electronic
manual be identical (with respect to varying dates in the footers) as the
hard copy?


In what form: HTML, PDF, ...? You don't have a footer in HTML (at least
not comparable to a paper footer).

2cents
Robert


--

Please reply to the newsgroup to maintain the thread. Please do not email
me unless I ask you to.

John McGhie
Microsoft MVP, Word and Word for Macintosh. Consultant Technical Writer
Sydney, Australia +61 (0) 4 1209 1410



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Robert M. Franz (RMF) Robert M. Franz (RMF) is offline
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Posts: 1,741
Default Changes to manual

Hello John

John McGhie [MVP - Word and Word Macintosh] wrote:
Ooops... I'm going blind :-) I didn't see that you had already answered it
:-)


That's OK: since most of my answer was links and quotes to your stuff,
you now get awarded _two_ answers instead of only one ...! ;-)))

Greetinx
Robert
--
/"\ ASCII Ribbon Campaign | MS
\ / | MVP
X Against HTML | for
/ \ in e-mail & news | Word
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