DC, please offer any advice you have on this subject:
I need to create an instruction manual document at work. Everything I have is in MS Word right now. There are several files (for each section), but it's really one document that will combine all the sections. I am the one who is handling all the files. Meaning, it's not some collaborated effort or anything, so I don't need some kind of software that will allow real-time simultaneous editing with a bunch of people. However, I would like to keep track of the changes that are made (I don't plan on using anything other than MS Word's tracking tools).
People (supervisors, other people) will want to see the files every once in a while, so I don't want to do it in anything other than Word, since that would complicate things with the mostly non-poweruser crowd here.
So, my question is, what is the best way to handle this situation? All I can think of is to carefully organize all the files, keep track of the changes in MS Word. The only additional thing i would do is use some kind of task management software (InfoQube, most likely) to keep track of the status of all the tasks. For example, if I am waiting for someone to submit something, or if I have a question about something that can't be answered right now...all these things need to be managed carefully, so nothing gets missed.
The other thing is an easy way to keep the styles consistent. Titles, headers, footers, indentations, page numbering, table of contents, etc. This reminds of the other thread about "Powerpoint sucks" thread by JavaJones. It would be nice to have everything as integrated as possible. For example, if I add a page somewhere, the TOC gets automatically updated, along with all the other affected page numbers. Stuff like that. The hard part is that I would like to keep this all in Word.
i was initially thinking that it would be nice to use a program like Help + Manual for something like this. Then I can treat the content like webpages, and use css or something to control the styling. But i have to keep it in Word, so that's out.
The other thing I was thinking about is mouser's Form Letter Machine. I've spoken to him privately about it in the past, how it can be used as something just like I'm describing here. But I don't think anything like that exists right now.
So if anyone has any ideas, please let me know. As javajones said, be as creative and outside the box as you can!