Converting Manuals

Online Help Technical Writer - Craig Wright

Craig Wright

Hi, I'm an experienced online help technical writer based in Derbyshire, UK. I can convert your old documentation into Flare, Paligo, Zendesk and others.

There's No Need to Struggle with Document Conversions

There are lots of benefits to be had from moving your content to a modern authoring or publishing system. But there is a downside too - you are going to have to convert manuals from your old system into a suitable format for your new system. 'Oh you can just copy and paste them', you might think. Unfortunately, it's not so simple as that. Even if copy and paste is an option, you'll most likely have reinsert images and links and reformat layouts. And sometimes, copy and paste isn't possible, for example, if you are moving from a WYSIWYG editor to a structured content system like Paligo.

Over the years, I have worked on many conversion projects and they are never as simple as you'd expect. Getting your old legacy documentation into a new system can be a lot more work than you'd expect. But the good news is that you don't have to convert manuals yourself - I can do it for you, as part of my document conversion service.

document conversion service

During my (20 years and counting) career as a technical writer, I've carried out a lot of conversion work, including:

  • FrameMaker to Word
  • Word to FrameMaker
  • FrameMaker to Flare
  • InDesign to Flare
  • Word to Confluence
  • Confluence to Flare
  • Flare to Paligo
  • Flare to Zendesk
  • Word to Paligo
  • Paligo to Zendesk
  • Zendesk to Paligo

So I'm no stranger to conversion projects and the sorts of issues that can arise, from junk code to broken links. This experience is going to be really useful with your project, as if there are issues with your content, there's a good change that I will have encountered and solved them before.

If that's all the information you need to get going, use the button below to get in touch. I'll need to know what software you are using, the amount of content that needs to be converted, and sample of the documentation is always helpful.

If you'd like to know more about my document conversion service, the following sections should help:

Two Levels of Document Conversion Service - Which is Right for You?

With conversions, it would be silly of me to offer a single 'one size fits all' service, as different companies have different requirements. Some companies just want to get their content into a new system and will tidy it up later, whereas others want to take advantage of the extra features in their new system. To cater for that, I provide two different conversion services:

Light Conversion Service for Documentation

document conversion service

Light Conversion Service for Documentation

If you're only concerned with getting your content from one system and into another, my light conversion service is probably your best bet. With this service, I will recreate the content in your new system and get it to match your original content as closely as possible.

A light conversion includes:

  • Transferring your content to a new system
  • Formatting your content in your new system
  • Recreating links and re-inserting images if needed
  • Manually stripping out 'junk' code.

It does not include:

  • Editing your content to make use of any content reuse features
  • Restructuring or rewriting any parts of your content.

For this extra work, you'll need my full conversion service.

A light conversion takes less time than a full conversion and so costs less. But if you are switching to Flare or Paligo, a light conversion isn't ideal (especially with Paligo) as these products have content reuse features that can save you money and time in the long run (but take a bit of effort to set up initially).  To learn more about content reuse, see my content reuse page.

Full Conversion Service for Documentation

convert documentation and edit

With my full conversion service, I'll convert and set up your documents so that they take advantage of the features available in your new system.

Working from your original documentation, I will:

  • Edit your content so that it is suitable for topic based systems (if needed)
  • Add links for better navigation
  • Restructure your content, if needed
  • Make sure your content is coded correctly and uses the correct styles
  • Apply a content reuse strategy (if needed)
  • Set up Flare master pages and page layouts (if needed)
  • Apply Paligo PDF and HTML5 settings (plus minor CSS changes to Paligo output).

The Full Service can include an edit/rewrite if you want it to. That's entirely up to you. Rewrites will take longer, and so will cost you more, but may be worth it if your content is lacking quality or quantity. The biggest problem I run into is content that is describing a product rather than explaining how to use it, and software documentation is often the worst culprit.

How Much Does it Cost?

The price of the conversion service varies, depending on how much content you have, what level of service you want, and what products you are using. For example, converting from Word to Flare will cost a little less than converting from Word to Paligo, as Paligo is structured text and pure XML, so takes more time and effort.

As with all of my services, the prices I quote are based on my day rate and the time it will take me to complete. I'm happy to work per day, per half-day, or on a fixed price agreement, whatever suits you best.