Lisa Finger
CIDM Administrator

WebWorks FinalDraft is an interactive edit and review system for technical writers and other content authors who include reviewers in the information-development process. FinalDraft allows both the authors and reviewers to work easily and independently from office, home, or on the road with no need to be tied into a network.

The current review process used by many departments is often costly and confusing. Typically, authors send out several copies of their document to reviewers as email attachments or faxes, which results in multiple copies being circulated and few opportunities for reviewers to consult one another. As a result, edits and comments from reviewers may conflict or overlap. The author has to keep track of each set of review comments and resolve the conflicts, sometimes through multiple emails, phone calls, and conferences. The current process is time consuming, requires organization and planning and makes the review process complex.

FinalDraft attempts to solve these problems by giving the author control over all changes made to the original document. FinalDraft stores comments and electronically categorizes drafts sent to each reviewer and the suggestions and changes they send back. The integrity of the source document is never compromised because the author must accept or reject all edits.

Here’s how it works. The author selects a document and uploads it into FinalDraft. Regardless of whether you use Adobe FrameMaker or Microsoft Word, conversion from the source document to the review document is easily and automatically handled through Internet Explorer. The author then chooses the recipients whom they choose to review the draft. The document is sent as an email attachment or placed on a file-server with an email notification. The reviewer opens the document and adds comments or edits. Reviewers can see the edits and comments made by other reviewers. The reviewers can search for a particular section they wish to review. Discussion among reviewers and the author is interactive, allowing for comments and edits from several sources on a specific issue. The number of reviewers is unlimited.

FinalDraft does have a few drawbacks. Currently, the program operates only in Internet Explorer, not Netscape. There are also some languages that FinalDraft does not yet support. However, WebWorks expects to include more languages soon. FinalDraft works only with an entire document. The author is not able to send specific pages to reviewers for editing.

FinalDraft is available at a cost of $399 per author with unlimited reviewers. To participate in a demonstration of this product or to find out more, visit the WebWorks Web site.