New workflows in technical documentation: all’s well that ends well

If something is good, it’s hard to improve it. There are no exceptions to this rule. In technical documentation, it’s great when there are routine procedures, distribution of tasks has been refined over many years, and everyone knows what they need to do. The biggest impediment to improvement though is the fear of what introducing new technologies and workflows might mean for the daily routine. More work. And yes, this is true: evaluation of the solutions, workshops, learning curves, and helpdesks. Until the workflows become routine, the distribution of tasks is clear, and everybody knows what they need to do again. That’s what happens when good makes way for better. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Content management systems

A new content management system: the choice is yours

The huge range of offers and complicated selection process can often feel overwhelming for the unfortunate person who has to pick a new content management system. They all say they’re the best thing since sliced bread. So, how can you compare or choose? There’s no way around it: you have to find the right solution. Because one thing is certain: once you buy the software, you won’t be able to get rid of it so easily again. After all the money, time, and effort that you have invested, you can’t just press “uninstall” once you realize that your content management system isn’t really what you’d hoped for. The good thing is that software contracts don’t usually say “Till death do us part”. Not even in the small print. 

You can count on us to help you choose a content management system that suits your needs. That’s because we know the strengths and limitations of all standard systems. Together with you, we will create requirements specifications that provide the basis for your decision. 

The benefits for you

  • Short evaluation phase 
  • Verified and weighted goals as a benchmark 
  • All existing parameters are taken into consideration 
  • Optimization of existing processes (optional) 
  • A forward-looking solution that protects your investment 

Our services

  • Analysis of the initial situation: definition of parameters such as expectations, resources, budget, and technical interfaces 
  • SWOT analysis of the current content creation environment 
  • Analysis of process awareness at your company. Classification for the next steps using the Information Process Maturity Model (IPMM) 
  • Review of the work/scope involved based on one or more typical documents  
  • Prototyping for future processes and workflows 
  • Development of a map of system solutions 
  • Implementation of the new content management system including data migration and adaptation of modules and fragments 

Interested?

You can request a free quote here: 

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We’re here to help

Our Pro Consulting team provides expert guidance on setting up a content management system.

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Data migration

Great companies make great products – but there’s always room for improvement

You know it’s true, don’t you? It really is about time you set up a new terminology database. And a new content management system, desktop publishing format, or translation memory system would make things a lot easier. You could modernize your processes and improve data management so that your work could be completed more quickly and with fewer errors. And these are just some examples. But the thought of a complicated data migration process has dampened your enthusiasm for innovation or decision-making. The effort would be enormous. In this respect, you are right. But that doesn’t mean you should keep delaying the overhaul that your systems probably need. It’s time to get started. 

You can trust us to handle the entire project management process for migrating your data and information to new systems. And if you prefer to handle parts of the installation and migration yourself, we’re happy to lend our support with expert guidance. 

Our services

  • Planning and implementation of data migration for 
    • Terminology databases 
    • Content management systems 
    • New desktop publishing formats 
  • Translation memory systems 
  • Preparation of source content 
  • Data conversion 
  • Migration is almost fully automated 
  • Cleanup of duplicates 
  • Creation of terminology databases from scratch 
  • Design and implementation of individual data models 

The benefits for you

  • Implementation of the latest systems and development of faster workflows 
  • Reduced workload for in-house staff when changes are made to the system 
  • Seamless migration to new systems 
  • Compatible, consistent overall structures for technical documentation 

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Templates and macros

Using templates to quickly and easily achieve goals

Do you like creating templates in Word, FrameMaker, or InDesign? We’re willing to bet that you don’t. Nobody does. That’s because programming templates is difficult if you don’t have a lot of experience. In the time that you spend on it you would have already written all your content for the next year ahead of time. So instead, just tell us what templates you need and what they should look like (a sketch will do), and we’ll take care of it. Or if you prefer: try the itl DocuGuide!

Standard templates for simple, fast publishing

You can choose between standard or custom templates. We offer the following standard templates:

Word templates in your corporate design with quick parts, menu bars, macros, and other useful functions

  • Ready-made tables at a mouse click
  • Image and graphics objects with a legend
  • Insertion of text segments such as safety instructions at a mouse click
  • Complete action sequences for insertion
  • Custom quick-access toolbars and menu bars
  • Quick parts and numerous macros
  • Automated index generation
  • Stable document that won’t crash
  • Master pages for frequently used page layouts
  • Functional grid settings
  • Paragraph formats that build on one another
  • Character formats for highlighting characters or words
  • Fonts with the complete character set for the target languages of your documents
  • Object formats for uniform design and rapid formatting
  • Scripts programmed for specific tasks

Custom and workflow-driven templates

Premium templates are custom, workflow-driven templates that have been tailored specifically to your needs. They allow you to minimize the effort required to edit your documents while increasing quality. What’s more, the consistently structured layout and content of your documents makes them far clearer, faster, and easier to read for your customers.

We create comprehensive document templates for Word, customized to your requirements. The ribbon menu is adapted specifically to the available functions. This also provides the foundation for workflow-driven content. Your custom-configured templates and documents can be used and maintained for future use. And even after translation, only minimal adjustments are required to the layout, if at all.
So that we can deliver exactly what you require, we discuss the details with you during a specification workshop. We usually plan one to two days. The result is a document template in Word. Depending on requirements it includes:

  • Naming and definition of styles for character formats, paragraph formats, lists, and tables
  • Boilerplate content provided using AutoText, for example warnings in accordance with ANSI Z535.6 and/or ISO 3864
  • Macros and AutoText for ease of use, for example to insert graphics and other objects or define file properties
  • A customized ribbon menu with all the required functions
  • The template is freely customizable to your specific requirements

FrameMaker is far better suited than Word to the creation of workflow-driven templates. Of course, you can benefit from our experience with these templates too. That’s because we don’t just focus on the number of mouse clicks but on efficient handling as well.

To develop our FrameMaker templates, we use the unique itl Template Tool, which is not available anywhere else in the world. It helps us simplify both template documentation and template control, which in our experience, can save days or even weeks of effort when working on complex template projects.

itl can support you with custom developments and out-of-the-box FrameScript solutions. When developing custom templates, we use FrameScript or ExtendScript to program customized scripts.
Our out-of-the-box FrameScript solutions (some of which are free) are available from our [i]-frame portal.

You can find more information on our scripts in our blog articles “Free scripts from itl”, “[i]-frame in a nutshell” and “Optimizing FrameMaker”.

FrameMaker templates from itl offer the following benefits:

  • Implementation of your CI guidelines in workflow-driven, translation-friendly documents
  • Templates including compact template documentation
  • Sample books with standard chapters/sections on request
  • Clearly structured and documented templates
  • Master and reference pages
  • Samples for warnings
  • Paragraph, character, and table formats
  • Smart numbering sequences
  • Index sorting for foreign languages

There is no doubt that InDesign is the most advanced desktop publishing system available today. Due to its development history, InDesign is page-based rather than workflow or document-based – which we prefer at itl.

As usual, you can trust itl’s experts to help you develop your technical documentation using InDesign too. Easy maintenance and efficient handling for large documents are the cornerstones of every template we develop. And if there are problems using a mouse with our templates, we simply develop a script to solve the problem.

InDesign templates from itl offer the following benefits:

  • Implementation of your CI guidelines in workflow-driven, translation-friendly documents
  • Master pages for frequently used page layouts
  • Well-conceived grid settings
  • Paragraph formats that build on one another
  • Character formats for highlighting individual terms
  • Object formats for uniform design and rapid formatting
  • Easy-to-use layout templates

Automating workflows using custom templates

Publishing projects can be tedious and time-consuming. But they can be quick and simple too. And workflow-driven templates are the key. They can be used to automate a whole range of workflows. This is possible thanks to custom macros, scripts and plug-ins for Word, Excel, FrameMaker, InDesign, and other desktop publishing programs.

  • DTP programs are easier to use
  • Optimized workflows through automation
  • Reduced outlay for publishing projects
  • VBA, FrameScript, InDesign scripting
  • Workflow automation
  • Plugin technology
  • ADX Loader
  • Adobe FrameMaker Developer Kit
  • InDesign SDK
     

The itl DocuGuide: the competitively priced alternative to Word templates

Some publishing projects don’t need sophisticated document templates. All they need is clean, workflow-driven content that is easy to maintain. If that sounds familiar, then the itl DocuGuide for MS Word is perfect for you. The itl DocuGuide shows you what Word templates we have developed for our customers. It includes a document template that’s as good as complete, with a separate ribbon menu that you can use without the need for adjustment. Of course, you can update it to suit your needs at any time too. More on the itl DocuGuide 

You can use Word just as efficiently as you are used to with FrameMaker or InDesign: our custom ribbon menu and additional programming make Word a great tool for technical documentation.

You can control links to graphic elements in the same way as using a professional DTP tool. And you can happily ignore the integrated functions from Microsoft.

So that the Word template couldn’t be easier to use, we have built the instructions directly into the document template.

  • This provides an example of how to use the functions and styles
  • Pop-ups on the ribbon
  • You are free to customize the pop-up information on the ribbon menu in two languages (German and English by default) in an Excel file and use a macro to add your changes to the template by means of sophisticated reference logic.

There is no macro protection, and licenses are not linked to specific accounts.

You can make changes to the ribbon menu at any time using the RibbonX editor.

  1. As a license for an entire department: €690 plus VAT
  2. 20 % off in combination with our Word workshop: €550 plus VAT

itl DocuGuide Version 13 (in German)

Bridge the gap between MS Word and a content management system!

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Always up to date: the itl Blog (in German)

The latest news on technical documentation, translation, workflow optimization, terminology, and our company.

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Your contacts for smart content

Henning Mallok

Head of sales Germany

Andrea Wagner

Head of technical documentation department