Chris Morton is a marcom/technical editor, author, proofreader, layout artist, and publisher who has been engaged in the general B2B/B2C, IT, infosec, and medical device realms for over 25 years.
My workaround solution was to break the PDF file into thirds, as Word could handle smaller segments. Once underway I came across several typographical errors, along with other errata that weren’t logical. These I reported to TESCO subject matter experts, along with suggested changes. (On TESCO’s behalf, I also reported such items to Toshiba company representatives as a courtesy.)
Not having any of the original artwork, I had to recreate several engineering schematics (using Microsoft Visio) and touch up other graphic elements. And I worked with TESCO’s CAD team regarding Endurance Drive elevations to add to the manual.
One-third of the manual consists of complex function call descriptions—many cross-referenced. This proved to be the biggest challenge. Upon importing this portion of the original PDF, Word set this section up in a two-column format spread over 143 pages. In domino fashion, any change made to a function description in the left side would throw off line spacing for adjacent data on the right, in turn throwing off the formatting of the succeeding function, and so on. Much wrangling ensued.
(Ideally, this middle section should have been recreated as a set of nested tables. I had proposed this to TESCO to facilitate future file maintenance, but was asked to make do—time was of the essence in getting its Endurance Drive to market.)
Once the three sections were updated in Word, I exported each back to PDF format. Then I used Acrobat Pro to combine the three sections into one master PDF.
The last step was to create an index. A quick internet search turned up the inexpensive PDF Index Generator software. It let me import the keyword set intact from the original Toshiba manual, then run that result against my master document. Again using Acrobat Pro, I was able to append the new index to the master PDF after only a few minutes.