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Track Changes Plug-in for FrameMaker

One area where Microsoft Word clearly outshines FrameMaker is in tracking revisions. In Word, you can identify revisions in a document down to a single letter and keep track of revisions by separate authors. FrameMakerís revision bar shows you the line containing a change but not what the change is or who made it.

Track Revisions, a new plug-in from Integrated Technologies now in beta, addresses some of these issues. It allows you to identify inserted and deleted text with different colours and accept and reject changes, either individually or globally. The plug-in uses two conditional text tags to identify inserted and deleted text. You can turn the view of revision marking on and off with a single button click.

Using the plug-in is straightforward. You can use its toolbar buttons (see below) or the menu item that it adds to the Special menu.

Because the plug-in uses conditional tags, using it is a bit more cumbersome than using Wordís revision tracking, and you canít identify changes by author. If you already use multiple conditionals, you may end up with overlapping conditional tags -- something that FrameMaker doesnít handle well. The plug-in also doesn't activate FrameMaker's revision bars, which is something that I expected it to do. I also expected the Accept All Changes command to ask for confirmation -- it doesn't.

Track Changes costs $100 for a single copy, with quantity discounts bringing the cost down to $50 in large orders. While it does provide an improvement over the basic FrameMaker functionality, the price and the fact that it relies on using conditional tags make it hard to recommend.

8/21/01 - There is a new version of the plug-in that addresses many of the issues mentioned in this review. I'll be updating this review once I've had a chance to check it out.

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Keith Soltys --