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In my work we produce a large number of architecture reports usually between 20 and 100 pages every year. They must be high quality and are currently being produced in Indesign. However this creates an important barrier, because not all collaborators know how to use InDesign or have it installed on their machine. Also the reports are meant for publication in three different formats: 1. a classical booklet (A4) format, 2. as a nice PDF optimized for the web, and 3. as a presentation-friendly version.

Now I was wondering if there wasn't a better way to do that. Personally I often use LaTeX or markdown (with pandoc) to create PDFs. Using that would allow me to simply switch between different layouts and I would always receive a professional result. However, such a solution would be too much of a technical barrier as most (100+) collaborators are architects and will not be interested in learning LaTeX.

So, can you think of a professional software solution / tool chain that could fulfill our requirements (separation of content and layout, collaborative, low technical barrier)?

As I am not a graphical designer, please apologize if this question is not quite up to speed for this stackexchange community. Please let me know if you see ways to improve my question.

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  • To avoid your collaborators having to learn latex (they don't know what great stuff they miss out :) ) you could have a look into lyx. However this would still leave the problem, that all collaborators have to install some software. – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Jan 14 at 11:33
  • Markdown would be an option, pandoc can generate a xml output that will autolayout into indesign. ITs just that the cost of indesign in a server use is a bit high. – joojaa Jan 14 at 14:07
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This workload is too big especially at 200+ collaborators, however, if you need to somehow unify the workflow, they will all need to install and learn the same something app.

You could take a look at InCopy, which is a minimized version of InDesign with limited editing capabilities, but especially created for this specific purpose.

Otherwise, if the team is so large, some extra hand could be hired on a permanent placement specifically to coordinate this workload and possibly handle revisions, maintain consistency and so on.

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