Book writing software


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Adding FrameMaker’s book file feature to Microsoft Word

Posted in: Book writing software by Edwin on January 14, 2010

FrameMaker vs Word

I recently started a ‘What are the missing features in Word as a technical writing software?‘ discussion in the ‘Technical Writer Forum‘ linkedin group, surprisingly, many respondents mentioned Adobe FrameMaker which I don’t know about before, and that made me wanted to learn more about it, so I started to read the online help manual of that technical writing software, one of my findings that interests me is that the concept of ‘writing projects in Writing Outliner Word addin’ is exactly the same as the ‘book files’ concept in FrameMaker.

A writing project in Writing Outliner is similar to a book file in Framemaker

In FrameMaker, a book file contains multiple documents that make up books, so you can have a file for the cover, for the front matter, for each chapter, for the appendices, for the index and for the glossary, a book can be organized into a hierarchical structure using folders, and finally you can merge the documents into one for publishing. The ‘book  files’ concept in FrameMaker making managing a long, complex document much more manageable, and this is exactly the idea behind the Writing Outliner Word addin! See this screenshot of Writing Outliner Word addin below, on the left it’s the project manager and it’s similar to the book window in FrameMaker:

I did not use FrameMaker before, and am now reading their online help, but I assume in FrameMaker you can find and replace strings through all files in a book file, and this is what you can do with Writing Outliner Word addin.

Make Microsoft Word more stable!

I thin it’ll make Microsoft Word more stable by introducing the ‘writing project’ into it, because Microsoft Word is known for it’s unstability when handling long documents, but with Writing Outliner for Word each chapter, sections and sections of your large documents are written in much smaller and separated files.


  1. MuppetGate

    Yes, the Framemaker book project would be fine model to follow. The problem is that Framemaker is hugely expensive so I’m not sure that many novelists would spring for it. Having said that, I did read a case study about one who did. Might be worth reading:

    The other problem is the difficulty in getting your finished manuscript in Word format, which most agents/publishing houses are keen on.

    Comment by MuppetGate on January 14, 2010 at 7:21 pm

  2. Hi MuppetGate,

    The ability to create and manage book level document in FrameMaker is cool, so with Writing Outliner for Word you can do that with Microsoft Word™ too 🙂

    Comment by Edwin Yip on January 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

  3. Orkhan

    Hi there!

    Any news?

    Comment by Orkhan on February 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm

  4. Hi Orkan,

    I’ll be posting a new screenshot shortly, and will ask you guys if we should start the beta with the current feature set, if I get 5 positive answers in the blog post, I’ll start it 😉

    Comment by Edwin Yip on February 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

  5. Orkhan

    You have one already 😉

    Comment by Orkhan on February 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm

  6. MuppetGate

    Here’s the second, and you’d have more if folk could see the request on the first page 😀

    Comment by MuppetGate on February 8, 2010 at 11:32 pm

  7. MuppetGate

    I’m going to cheat and add a THIRD

    Comment by MuppetGate on February 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  8. Hi MuppetGate,

    I have a list of newsletter subscribesr but I will not send the beta testing notification to them until the second wave of the beta, in other words, I want to invite only the folks who is watching my blog for the first wave 😉

    BTW, do you guys like to sing up a forum like BBPress or just use blog comments here to discuss the beta?

    Comment by Edwin Yip on February 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

  9. MuppetGate

    Very clever. 😀

    But definitely make folk SIGN UP! At this stage I think your testers need to show a bit of commitment, and a sign up process will help with that.

    It will make it much easier to separate the discussions into sections and keep track of replies.

    Yes, use a forum!

    Comment by MuppetGate on February 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm

  10. Orkhan

    Of course I don’t mind signing up 🙂

    Comment by Orkhan on February 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

  11. Orkhan

    Where do I sign?

    Comment by Orkhan on February 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

  12. It seems that a forum is the better way to go, I like BBPress which is created by the developer of WordPress, dropbox uses it too.

    @Orkan, not yet, but soon 😉

    Comment by Edwin Yip on February 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  13. MuppetGate

    A question about the screenshot. What happens if you click the drop down arrow next to the filenames?

    Comment by MuppetGate on February 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm

  14. @ MuppetGate, that will pull down the context menu. I think this is more usable that using right clicks, because the small drop down arrow implies “hey, click me and you can do something’.

    BTW, I’ve gone far from the screenshot you see 😉

    Comment by Edwin Yip on February 10, 2010 at 6:46 pm

  15. MuppetGate

    I meant, what’s on the drop down menus … 🙂

    Comment by MuppetGate on February 11, 2010 at 2:34 am

  16. Hi MuppetGate,

    Please be a little more patient, you know, I’m close to the first beta release 😉

    Comment by MuppetGate on February 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm

  17. MuppetGate

    Yep. No problem. Sorry.


    Comment by MuppetGate on February 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm

  18. @ MuppetGate,

    That’s OK, and I thank you for your attention to this project.

    Comment by Edwin Yip on February 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm

  19. Orkhan

    😉 И долго нам еще ждать???

    Comment by Orkhan on February 22, 2010 at 2:43 am