Building Word output

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Building Word output

Postby Davbo on Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:14 am

Hi all

I usually output to HTML5 and PDF from my projects. However, it would be useful to also have a temporary Word version of the output for review purposes and other uses.

As I understand it, Word output requires a separate page layout from PDF and other tweaks. Any time I've tried, the Word document has poor layout compared to the PDF.

Can anyone advise what the easiest way of generating a Word output is, and provide some simple steps to implement this?

Any help much appreciated

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Re: Building Word output

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:45 am

What sort of problems have you experienced? If you give us some more information on what you mean by "poor layout compared to the PDF" we might be able to help you so you don't need to make any changes to what you've got already.

But if you do need to do extra things, read on.

I've produced Word outputs in the past, usually for review purposes because someone objected to looking at PDFs (bloody reviewers!) and found that the only reason I needed to create a new page layout was because our PDFs used a really stupid page shape and I wanted vanilla A4, so I created a separate A4 page layout.
* The problem with creating a separate page layout to use is that if you've defined which page layouts to use in your TOCs and you want to produce Word from your regular TOCs rather than a "Review Only" TOC, that might get a bit messy.

You also might find you need to create a separate medium in your stylesheet rather than using your PDF medium (but you might not need to, depending on what your problem is.) If you do have to, I suggest you copy your PDF medium and call it, for the sake of argument, Word, then tweak any styles you need to tweak in that medium. Or copy your entire stylesheet, call it Word_style.css (for the sake of argument), change the name of the PDF medium in that new stylesheet and edit styles in there.
* Having a completely separate stylesheet rather than an additional medium in your current stylesheet might help you keep them separate in your head, and means that your Word outputs won't be affected by any changes you make in your "real" work in the main stylesheet.

Finally, I suggest you create a new target to use for Word outputs. You then specify that it uses A4.flpgl rather than whatever page layout you use for your PDF (if your PDF is silly like ours is), and specify the Word medium of the stylesheet, either your regular one if you've created a separate medium, or your new stylesheet if you've gone down that route. You can then use any TOC you like, though if I'm looking to produce just a couple of random topics, I create a separate TOC and call it, for the sake of argument, REVIEW_ONLY and use THAT TOC in my Word target.
* In your Word target, don't forget to specify how it breaks - new Word doc per chapter or just a single Word doc - look on the Advanced tab of the Word target.)

So you don't have to do this more than once, if you're using Global Project Linking and keeping all your stylesheets/page layouts in a single project, create these new things in your Globals project. Depending on your conditions they will then be imported into all your target projects, and you can adjust the target to use whichever TOC you want to review in the target projects.

Does that make any sense to you?

By the way, remember that you can't create a Word output, get reviewers to make changes and then re-import it into your project. Word and Flare don't play nice, so in-out-in-out is a complete no-no for your review cycle. Personally I find it easier to just create a PDF for review purposes, and if I want to
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Re: Building Word output

Postby Davbo on Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:52 am

Many thanks for your help.

The layout problems I've experience are just general untidiness, with things not aligning correctly, and graphics not displaying properly (or sometimes not at all).

I'll try making a new page layout and stylesheet section as suggested and see how it goes. Previously, I'd imagined that a layout/stylesheet for PDF should be good for Word (both are print outputs) but I guess it's not that easy.

Thanks again for your help - much appreciated.

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Re: Building Word output

Postby doloremipsum on Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:24 pm

You'll probably find that there are a number of PDF features that aren't supported in Word. The ones that bugged me the most were decoration frames in page layouts (e.g. the logo on the title page), heading variables (e.g. in the header/footer) and div tags (simply ignored).
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Re: Building Word output

Postby crownjulesb on Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:39 am

From what I gather, Word output needs a "masterpage" like an html5 output, rather than specific page layouts. However, the issues I've had in the past seem to be mainly that hundreds of "tab stops" are created in the word version, which pushes the content WAY off the page. And renders it practically invisible. Agreed that you'll probably need a designated stylesheet(medium) for word OP. It just seems to generate twice the work, just so that some resistant content writer doesn't have to learn a new piece of software!
In my opinion, just use Contributor for all the edits and bin word for good!
Now, to get others to agree on that one - that's the tricky bit... :mrgreen:
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Re: Building Word output

Postby Nita Beck on Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:58 am

crownjulesb wrote:From what I gather, Word output needs a "masterpage" like an html5 output, rather than specific page layouts.

No longer true. That was true *many* versions of Flare back. I would guess that most Flare users who are producing Word output these days use page layouts.
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Re: Building Word output

Postby ryanr on Thu Dec 10, 2020 1:50 pm

Unfortunately, I've recently had to make Word outputs from Flare for the first time. Our PDF output has looked great, and I don't think it's any more fancy than what most Flare users would create. But switching the PDF Target to Word and generating it left us with a Word doc with all of the issues you all have described here.

To cut to the chase: The best solution I found to get a Word output that is pretty much identical to our PDF output is to output our PDF from Flare. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Use Acrobat Pro's Tools > Export PDF option to export to Word, and the resulting Word doc is fine! Of course, I'd rather not have to take these extra steps. But if you have Acrobat Pro, this seems much faster and easier than creating extra targets, styles, etc. in Flare, and then still not getting the exact output you'd like.

Hope that helps!
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