10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 14, 2014 3:45 PM by Charlotte Niebuhr

    What program do you use for instruction manuals?

    Karl Kemp

      Hi everyone. I was just wondering what program you prefer when making instruction manuals. I am trying to decide which looks more professional, and if you have any tips on importing views from Composer to that program. I find that when I save the views as jpegs, the beige background shows up and makes it look unprofessional. Any ideas would be welcome! Thanks in advance!

        • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
          Lukasz Siwiec


          You ask this in SolidWorks Forum, so i think all people recomended SolidWorks Composer

          • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
            John Matrishon

            It really depends on what you're comfortable with.  Obviously Composer is creating the images, animations, htmls, etc, but MS Word works perfectly well for most of my applications.  I even use MS Excel for some of the them.


            With your JPG images, look at your options and make sure you check white background and remove ground, or just change those to white and deselect the ground from being shown.  Sounds like you are very new to Composer, so there is a ton of things to learn, so do some reading and use the help, you'll get there.

            • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
              Jeff Holliday

              It's amazing how little Adobe Illustrator is mentioned - it is what I use for manuals. Admittedly, Composer is very nice but I think it needs to become less costly to purchase to entice smaller companies to adopt it.

              • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
                Dominic Theriault

                It depends on who will use your manual.


                I used to work for a toy company that would print thousands of manuals adressed to children. We would render in solidworks and graphic designers would use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. IMO InDesign is better for multiple pages documents.


                Now, I work for a company that would produce just a few instruction manuals for specific theatre machineries used by trained technicians. Microsoft Words does the job for that.

                • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
                  Derek Parks



                  If I am reading your post correct you are already using Composer to create your views and are looking for a publication program. Personally I never use jpeg as it is a raster format and not as friendly for publications. If you are using composer now  I would recommend exporting your images in the eps or svg format under the technical illustration workshop. If you need full color raster images I find Solidworks Photoview 360 a better solution with Photoshop for post work. Composer really doesnt impress me for individual raster images but works well when exporting 30fps for animations.


                  As far as publication software I use Adobe Indesign which I find is the most professional software for achieving this and also handles the links to my files very well. Since the main selling point for me of Composer was the quick updating of my Solidworks files to my Composer files I feel this software flows well with my workflow.


                  Hope this helps,


                  • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
                    Silas Curfman

                    I've been using MS Publisher with .eps vector graphics from SW Composer.  I'm familiar with other Adobe products and am sure Illustrator is a fine tool, just happens that what I have is MS Office.  I greatly prefer Publisher over Word for customer documentation.  It easier for me to vary my page layouts throughout my project.  I make it a point to avoid raster images as much as possible in my manuals.  Although I wish MS Publisher would accept .SVG, I'm fine with how it handles .EPS.  We all wear a bunch of different hats here and I'm also often the one working with our print advertising.  All of my advertising vendors love any vector graphics format over raster.


                    I'll attach a sample page from a manual done in MS Publisher with a SW Composer graphic (.eps) embedded in it as well as an advertising sample done in CorelDraw with a SW Composer .SVG graphic in the center of the ad.

                    fsi manual sample 1.png


                    • Re: What program do you use for instruction manuals?
                      Charlotte Niebuhr

                      I've used InDesign, Illustrator, Quark, PageMaker, Publisher and Word. Word and publisher give me headaches. Quark was buggy but it was a long time ago. Illustrator isn't really designed for publications but obviously a great tool for graphics. InDesign is by far the best for what I do (manuals).