Now I'm about to resurrect and publish the old books and write some new ones (drafting them in Scrivener, of course; Scrivener rocks!!). While I have an old Mac that will run FrameMaker, Classic doesn't support my modern productivity tools such as Typinator and Dragon Dictate. Which means my FrameMaker workflow is... problematic. And a lot slower than what I'm used to.
So I'm looking for Macintosh word processing/page layout software to replace FrameMaker -- software that is suitable for a power user and has these features:
- Runs locally, not in the cloud. I do a ton of work offline.
- Good work flow, a la Scrivener or FrameMaker. (Both allow grouping multiple documents to work on as a unit.)
- Reasonably WYSIWYG. Scrivener is not-quite-WYSIWYG in ways that enhance workflow. Whereas typing markup tags for basic formatting would destroy my workflow. (I am willing to deal with tags if I must to get specialty features such as indexing. Not otherwise, though.)
- Stable and reliable; does not lose content or corrupt files.
- Character and paragraph styles that auto-update when the style definition gets changed. (I prefer cascading styles; I can work around not. CSS styles under the hood would work; typing tags or HTML would not.)
- Can import/export styles, so I can use one document as a master styles template for multiple documents.
- Cross-references that are links with auto-generated page numbers that can auto-update when pagination changes. (FrameMaker does this with tags.)
- Can cross-reference between documents as well as within them, and auto-update cross-reference page numbers. (For instance, when Volume A includes cross-references to volume B, and I add content to Volume B that changes the pagination, I can get the program to auto-update the page numbers shown in Volume A.)
- Decent table handling, including multi-page tables.
- Decent handling of captioned pictures.
- Sophisticated Search and Replace. Search can find text strings, paragraph styles and formats, character styles and formats, tags, tag content, etc.. (Ideally, it also does grep.)
- Auto-numbered footnotes.
- Can handle long, complex documents (200,000+ word books, multi-volume sets).
- Automatically generates and updates tables of contents. (FrameMaker does this based on paragraph styles.)
- Automatically generates and updates indexes. (FrameMaker does this using tags.)
- Automatically generates and updates user-defined lists based on tags (so I can tag all occurrences of X, then generate a list with page numbers).
- Cross-reference, index, and table of contents page numbers are hyperlinks to make navigating within and between documents easy.
- Hyperlinks work when documents get exported to PDF (table of contents, cross-references, index entries).
- Exports/imports well to RTF and Microsoft Word. (I don’t use Word, but some colleagues and publishers use or require it.)
Optional features (FrameMaker or Scrivener have most of these, and I really like them):
- Tracks changes, does document compare, or both
- Sequential paragraph numbering works for non-contiguous paragraphs. (For instance, I can set up a numbered paragraph styles for report titles, and they will auto-number sequentially.)
- Conditional text: within a document, I can specify text that will only show in version A, but not in version B, then specify a version before I print.
- Footnote numbers are hyperlinks (to facilitate jumping between text and note).
- Can do endnotes.
- Has a Windows version so I can exchange documents with colleagues.
- PDF exporting can auto-generate a document structure based on paragraph styles.
- Can export to HTML with CSS
- Will run on Mac OS 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, as well as the two newest versions of Mac OS.
I also want:
- Software made by a reliable company that has been in business for at least 3 years.
- Bugs get fixed promptly.
- Decent to great user support. (Scrivener is tops!)
- Updates at reasonable intervals. I strongly prefer frequent, small updates that fix bug to occasional big updates, which generally fix a few bugs, and introduce some more that then take months/years to get fixed.
I do NOT want software that uses Mac OS X's lame built-in “styles.” I need real paragraph and character styles that update when I change the style definition.
I do NOT want to use Microsoft Word. (Terrible work flow; buggy styles.)
I strongly prefer to NOT run FrameMaker (or anything else) in a virtual Windows machine. (Running Mac-only lets me stick with one interface I understand, and use my suite of Mac productivity tools, and avoid most virus and maintenance issues.)
I am happy to compose in Scrivener, which I love, then export to another program for final layout and printing. However, since I will need to maintain and update those formatted documents, the workflow in the layout software needs to be good enough that once I import content, I can maintain it there.
What do you professional technical writers and power users recommend?
Thanks in advance for your advice!