From an Excel File to 300_ DITA Topics in Just One Click

Presentation Abstract

As a technical writer, one can easily create a user manual in DITA. However, if this manual contains a large quantity of reference information, life can get pretty complex when it’s time for an update. Recently, a major new software release generated more than 200 additional fields that had to be documented. Tables quickly grew to over ten pages in length, the information was extensive, and input from the Subject Matter Experts was scattered across an Excel spreadsheet with little indication of what had changed.

Excel? Mmm, isn’t there a possibility to automate the update process?

What can attendees expect to learn?

If you deal with voluminous pieces of information that change frequently, and if most of this information is maintained in Excel by the Subject Matter Experts, then the chances are you can become lazy and produce your content in just a few clicks. By defining a strict structure, both for the source and for the output, and investing in the creation of a converter tool, you could save a mountain of stress and time, for writers and reviewers alike.

Meet the Presenters

Armed with a Marketing degree, Catherine started off hercareer in an Import-Export company in the Toys sector for 3 years, and then moved to the Steel industry for another 2 years.

By pure accident, she started this documentation road more than 15 years ago, at SWIFT, a financial telecom company, producing legal contractual documents and user manuals. This job is constantly evolving, she has witnessed many migrations, from Word to SGML, SGML to XML, from in-house built DTD to DITA, and more to come!

After studying Telecoms (Engineering master degree) and working in a research lab, Pascale decided to “”soften”” her working life and obtained a master degree in Computer Sciences and Business Management. she is since working in the Document Management area, starting with ODA and SGML in the early 90s, mainly as a developer, expert and project manager for a consultancy firm.

At SWIFT since mid-2000, she is working in the Operations and Support Tools Department, to
support and develop the Documentation infrastructure.

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