Framemaker vs Word

Kesi Parker
Mar 19, 2019 · 4 min read

FAQ on Technical Writing

Sometimes technical writers have to make a decision: what tool should they choose for writing documentation. And sometimes the choice is limited to FrameMaker and MS Word. In this topic, I’ll try to answer a question: which is better for writing documentation?

MS Word

Everyone knows what MS Word is and how to work with it — you just open a document and start typing text. It has only the basic features for text formatting, so, basically, you can easily make your texts not only be, but also look professional. In my article called ‘MS Word Tricks for Technical Writers’ I mentioned features that not all tech writers are aware of, so you can use them to save your time.

Now, let’s have a look at Adobe FrameMaker.

Adobe FrameMaker

FrameMaker is a desktop publishing program that allows creating a document that enforces a tight structure. FrameMaker offers its powerful tools in the most accessible ways for individuals as well as teams. A large set of publishing options enables you to customize and deliver your content to multiple devices: generate PDF, Responsive HTML5, or output for Kindle devices, among other output formats. These are only some of the most basic features — FrameMaker can do more. Here is a neat infographic that overviews its main features:

To learn more about FrameMaker features you can visit their website.

Now it’s time to go over their pros and cons and see what’s better for documentation writing.

MS Word’s Weaknesses

MS Word’s Strengths

FrameMaker Weaknesses

FrameMaker Strengths

Keep in mind, that I’m not trying to say whether one tool is good and the other is bad. They were created for different purposes and sometimes if you face problems while working with them, it may mean that the tool is not right for the job.

So, if you need to write letters or small texts, use MS Word. If you write complex documentations or large chunks of texts (like a book), buy FrameMaker. However, I recommend that you have a look at more professional tools for technical writing like ClickHelp, MadCap Flare, Help & Manual and so on.

I use ClickHelp for technical writing because it has all the features that are essential for the technical writing process. Here is an infographic that shows some of ClickHelp features. If you want to learn more, visit their website.

Conclusion

It’s up to you what you should choose, and it depends on your goals and budget. Of course, MS Word is cheaper than professional help authoring tools but evaluate objectively how many hours you spend on converting and formatting texts in MS Word when you can easily do it in one tool.

How did I become a technical writer? What skills do you need? Read FAQ on Technical Writing.

Technical Writing is Easy

Technical writing is for everyone!

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