Johanne Lavallée

Coming Out: I Write in Word and I Love it! And You Can Too!

Sometimes DITA, rather than breaking silos, just creates one more. Johanne was asked for a content reuse solution but her needs and DITA conditions quickly locked horns. Is it possible to stay in Word with SmartDocs and keep exchanging files with other colleagues? This is a use case of a solo writer with simple needs and a little time, discussing how easy it was to start reusing quickly; so easy the solution is catching on with proposal writers. She will describe the operation of the snippets, variables and conditional texts, the challenges of working in two languages with variables, and what remains to be done.

You will learn about a content reuse strategy within Word for your customers, your team, and even the whole company, right away, with no conversion period. You will also take home strategies for variables with different genders inside, a challenge for DITA writers as well.


Johanne Lavallée is a senior technical writer for Signalisation Ver-Mac, in Quebec, Canada. She started writing in 1997 officially; really started at 10 with the Commodore 64, noting functions on a paper pad for the whole family. In 18 years, she has used all the possible technical writing tools, in English and French, mostly as a lone writer. One of the beta testers for MadCap Flare, she has worked in developer teams most of her life. Her specialization in Word prompted a blog in French on AGILE writing in Word at now available in English.

Co-Presenting With

Lisa Pietrangeli