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I have just started documenting a purchasing, warehousing, billing, sales, and accounting application - a real monster!

It is being deployed to multiple sites and is modified for each site. This means the UI changes for each deployment, so new screen grabs have to be re-taken.

As the same screen is referenced in multiple documents, I am currently looking at HelpNDoc, as it links one image to multiple documents.
This is great - retake one screen grab and it updates in multiple documents.

However, any formatting on the image (arrows etc) is lost. Also, HelpNDoc doesn't allow a huge amount of formatting in the Word and PDF outputs. This means that any HelpNDoc generated file would have to be Word-ed after generation.

Is there a tool which

  1. Allows links to an image or an image library
  2. Also enables publication-ready formatting

Maybe Framemaker?

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Yes, FrameMaker will do what you want.

  1. You can link to external images.
  2. You can add callouts etc. in FrameMaker as a layer on top of the image. If the image changes, the callouts are still there.
  3. FrameMaker can create PDFs (and HTML, if needed).
  4. FrameMaker allows you to reuse documents between different books, so if some of your UI stays the same across deployments, you only have to write those sections once.

There are other tools with similar functionality. Author-it is focused on reuse even more than FrameMaker (making it easier to reuse e.g. a single section), and it can link to external images. However, you cannot add callouts etc. in Author-it, so you'd have an extra step to place the callouts in an image editor.

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