Planning for various methods of content delivery

Content management techniques

Although Author-it automatically produces multiple output formats from the same source, you still have to make sure that the information works well in each of the output formats.


  • Navigation strategy. By their nature, online output formats (Help and Web) encourage many smaller topics that are extensively hyperlinked to each other. Navigation tends to rely on using these links, and the reader will often jump around several topics to find the information they need. Printed documents, on the other hand, tend to be read continuously, and navigation relies more on the table of contents and index.

    Fortunately, Author-it automatically creates (clickable) page number cross-references in your printed output, which helps to reduce this problem. Clickable external URLs are also included for links outside the document.

  • Terms specific to certain output formats. Make sure that your text does not refer to terms that are specific to one medium or the other. If you really need to do this, exclude that content from the media that it does not apply to. For example, you should not say things like "Follow the procedure on the next page" because the concept of a fixed size page only exists in the printed document.
  • Layout relying on specific page size. Do not use formatting or layout that relies on a fixed size page to convey a message. Particularly when you reuse the same topics in several different documents, page size may change. As mentioned, it's also irrelevant in online media, where the reader has more control over things like the size of the viewing window.

After you've used Author-it for a while, you'll know which considerations are relevant and should influence the design of your documents.