I use text insets for individual sections and make sure not to include 
the heading in the text inset. This way if the heading is a different 
heading level in 2 different manuals, it won't interfere. Also, if I 
include the heading in the text inset, I'm not sure what would happen 
when I try to cross-reference to it or to add an index entry to the 

Shmuel Wolfson

Martinek, Carla wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> The first couple of pages of the Preface contain the doc info (audience,
> scope, purpose, structure, etc.), and the stuff that's shared among the
> docs is in the latter 3/4 of the Preface. Would it work to split it into
> two files (the first part with all the doc-specific stuff just set up as
> a regular template, and the second part set up as a single-sourced file
> that everyone could point to from their books)? 
> ----------
> In a short, simple, answer -- Yes.  By breaking your content into
> shorter topical files, you can increase their reuse.
> Our general standard here is to break apart files when they have a
> top-level (Heading 1, etc.) heading.  We've got 1000+ different topical
> files that we can reuse between docs as necessary.  Some files can be
> reused across multiple product lines; some only within product lines.
> We got away from text insets because of some inherent problems we were
> having with them, and build the books by linking the topical files
> together.  For example, a book might look like this:
> Cover
> Copyright
> Toc
> About This Doc__FrontPage
>   About_contacts_tech_support ---- (reused across all product lines)
>   About_doc_conventions
> Intro__FrontPage
>   External_view ---- (reused within product lines)
>   Media_compartment
>   front_panel
>   Firmware_language_modes
> Operations_FrontPage
>   etc.
>   Etc.
> We create a intro page (FrontPage) for each chapter, and then link in
> the topical files behind it. It works for us.  We have one writer who
> maintains all of the UG/QRG files for 6 product lines and several OEM
> versions. I think at last count she was responsible for 25+ active
> manuals, and by sharing the content this way, she manages to keep things
> updated and meet deadlines and release dates.
> We set this up with the expectation that we will be moving to structured
> content (XML/DITA), and topical is the way to go for that.  Also, once
> we move the topical content to XML, our Tech Support Help Desk will
> easily be able to grab and reuse the content for their needs.
> -Carla
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