It’s not as “indesigh” as it was a week ago Monday.
For one thing, the big new monitors have been a godsend. Eyestrain is not nearly the problem it was, and the color balance is better, too. (I have a lot of trouble color-balancing monitors, so it’s nice when they come pretty much perfect from the get-go.)
I also found out that I could, literally, cut and paste documents open in the FrameMaker UI into an open, blank InDesign document. The only thing that doesn’t come over are the linked images, and that makes perfect sense, since they aren’t in the same directories on my local machine as they are on my work machine. So I had to copy over all of the images my predecessor created and save them locally, then reimport them one by one. Which is a pain, but there aren’t really that many of them.
(I can’t do this on my work machine because it is severely lobotomized — it has only 4 processors and 4GB RAM, which seems like a reasonable amount until you realize that it’s on a Hyper-V virtual machine and is 600 miles away to boot, producing more latency than I really want to deal with. So, since I have a Creative Cloud account thanks to my employer, I can actually install InDesign on both machines.)
Another thing I did the other night was boosted the RAM in my 8-processor i7 “desktop replacement” laptop from the 8GB it came with to the 32GB that maxes it out. Things seem to run faster as a result (much less paging to disk). Unfortunately that didn’t solve the problem I hoped it would solve — InDesign crashes for no particularly good reason at odd times, usually at a point right before I would be saving the document. However, this is typical Adobe behavior, and I’ve been dealing with it for years — it happens with Acrobat, it happens with PageMaker, it happens with Photoshop, doesn’t matter. So while it irks me, it’s not like it’s something I didn’t expect to happen.
(It is actually my belief — and has been for years — that the Adobe developers don’t really want to support Windows, so they leave things unfixed that cause the Windows versions to crash, so they can say, well, the Mac version doesn’t crash like that, maybe you should switch to Mac.)
Anyway I have managed to import an entire 285-page document into InDesign. It’s in multiple chapter files, so I had to create a book for it (and of course, this is the best way to do a large document; I just never could get it to work properly in Word years ago when that was what we used to create the documentation originally), and a separate Table of Contents document, and somehow I need to get all of the styles I had to create to harmonize between all of the chapter documents (why doesn’t Adobe let you define styles at the book level, instead of having you choose one document as the Style Source and then mush-mouth around about “synchronizing” and shit? Stupid way to run a railroad)…but bottom line, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
And in none of the googling I did over the past year did anyone ever suggest that the best way to convert a FrameMaker document to InDesign was to simply open the FM doc, select all, copy, and then paste it into a new InDesign file. Probably because of the images not coming over, but geez, people, so you have to fix that. Big effing deal given what it costs to get a direct FM to ID conversion done.
Anyway, I still hate the software, but I’m finding it’s possible to work with it relatively efficiently.