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FrameMaker 9 and TCS2 offer “Shared Review” of Technical Documents

© 2010 Ugur Akinci

Technical communicators now have a new workflow option to get their documents reviewed: “Shared Review” offered by Technical Communication Suite 2 (TCS2).

Why “Shared Review”?

To synchronize all review comments and use a single document for updating the reviews. Eliminating errors due to different reviewers not being aware of each other’s comments and/or the technical writer failing to carry some of the comments back to the source file (FrameMaker, in our case).

You, as the writer, need the following to make Shared Review work:

> FrameMaker 9
> Acrobat 9 Pro Extended
> Acrobat.com registration (Free)

TCS2 comes with both (and several other useful applications).

Your reviewers need only the following:

> Acrobat 9 Reader (Free)
> Acrobat.com registration (Free)

How does the process work?

In a nutshell, this is how the process works…

FrameMaker 9 and TCS2 offer "Shared Review" of Technical Documents

(1) Create your source file or book in FrameMaker 9.

(2) Select File > Save as PDF (Send for Review) option to generate a PDF copy for Shared Review (for both Structured and Unstructured files).

(3) In the PDF Setup for Generated Files dialog box that displays, select Generate PDF for Review Only check-box. Click Set. Acrobat 9 Pro Extend will launch and display your newly generated PDF document. This is what you’ll use for Shared Reviews.

NOTE: At this point, you can upload the PDF to Acrobat.com and invite your reviewers to read it through e-mail and other traditional means of getting in touch with your reviewers. But this is not true shared reviewing and is subject to the same errors that a traditional review cycle is subject to. Instead, do the following…

(4) Under Acrobat 9′s Comment menu, select Send for Shared Review to display the related dialog box. The default setting is Automatically download & track comments with Acrobat.com. Click Next.

NOTE: This method by default uploads your PDF file with the comments to Acrobat.com, which the Adobe Corporation assures is a safe and secure server. However, if you have any security questions in your mind, click the drop-down menu in the Send for Shared Review dialog box and select the second option: Automatically collect comments on my internal server. Then you can point the comments to a network folder, a web folder, or MS SharePoint folder. The choice is up to you.

(5) Log in to your Acrobat.com account (which uses the same ID and PW as Adobe.com).

(6) In the dialog box displayed, enter the email addresses of all your reviewers. Acrobat.com automatically sends an “Invitation to Review” email to all the reviewers, sharing with them the identity of the initiator of the process (you), all the other reviews, and the Deadline for the review (set by you). That way every piece of information pertinent to the review process is shared transparently with all relevant parties.

NOTE: Acrobat.com will send an URL Link to reviewers, not the whole PDF file itself. All the reviewers need to do is click that URL, download the PDF, and then comment on the document that appears in their Acrobat 9 Reader (free application).

Your Acrobat 9 Pro Extended will prompt you when a new review is recorded and display the number of new and total reviews submitted by all your reviewers.

(7) If you are a reviewer: click Publish Comments button to publish them on Acrobat.com.

(8) On your end, make sure you update the PDF document for all the new comments, and go over all the highlighted comments from all reviewers. Send them an e-mail if you have any questions about any comments. You can sort and view the comments by author, etc.

(9) When you accept or reject all the comments, save the PDF and import the comments back into your FrameMaker 9 source file to update your source file automatically.

Select File > Import > PDF Comments and that’s it!

Isn’t that easier than copying and pasting the comments from PDF (or MS Word) into FM?

FrameMaker 9 Resources

Adobe FrameMaker 9 Classroom in a Book
XML and FrameMaker
Adobe FrameMaker 9 VTC Training CD
Advanced FrameMaker


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