Having been a "manual laborer" for about 15 years, I've come to
appreciate FM. Word gets better with each new release, but still loses
its mind when the auto-numbering schemes get complex (auto-numbered
chapters and headings, steps, figures, tables, etc.). word is also
limited in the graphics-file-format-import realm. Other Word-related
anomalies push me to the brink of madness. I presently use FM and Word,
the latter for docs the engineers may need to tweak occasionally, and
the former for the big user and service manuals that I "own" and manage

Due to past struggles with various DTP and related software as such
programs apply to TW, I have made decisions, in interviews, base upon
the tools available within a company, and a department's apparent
willingness (or lack thereof) to consider modernizing their tools (e.g.,
from Word, PageMaker, Quark, et al., to FM or, back in the day,

When I worked in a strong, small TW-contract co. about 10 years ago, we
added about 15 percent onto bids that required us to use Word (versus FM
or Interleaf). 

I would advise a TW starter to consider and inquire of the tools
available, and inquire as to whether better-suited tools are in the
near-future budget. The answer may reveal the dogmatic or tenacious
nature of a manager, department, and company.

-----Original Message-----
From: framers-bounces+mforseth=imago....@lists.frameusers.com
[mailto:framers-bounces+mforseth=imago.com at lists.frameusers.com] On
Behalf Of Andy Kelsall
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 10:40 AM
To: Framers at frameusers.com
Subject: Career advice--which application to focus on: FM or Word?

Hello everyone,

           I would like some advice from anyone who has worked in the
technical writing field for more than 3 years. My question is this:

          If you knew someone who was looking to enter the technical
field at this time, would you advise them to seek out positions where
would be using FrameMaker, or would you tell them not to worry so much
which application would be used, but instead focus on the position and
work itself?

          The reason I ask is that on various listservs I subscribe to,
seems that most people are big FM advocates and are not too fond of
I've spent the last month trying to learn the basics of FM, and I can
why people choose FM over Word when it comes to serious technical
Granted, there is a steep learning curve, but it *is* a lot more
than Word.

          I'm moving away from a 17 year career as a technician and
in the telecom field and I want to make sure my first step into
writing isn't a misstep. As a quick note, I have given the career change
quite a bit of thought, and went as far as completing a technical
program at Duke. Any and all advice is appreciated.



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