What is Blacklining?‏

Overview

Blacklining works in conjunction with QuarkXpress or InDesign to allow a user to retain a complete audit trail of all changes made to text. Those who work with financial, legal, medical and other exact documentation will find this an essential tool.

Blacklining tracks changes made to the text of a document as it is being revised. It is designed to allow a user or viewer of a document to be able to see a complete history of changes that have occurred. Text inserts are shown as underlines and text deletes can either be shown as strike through, or have a caret mark from where text has been deleted.

Blacklining has the unique feature of tracking different revision cycles. By choosing different revision cycles it is possible to show a complete history of all the text changes made to a document as it passes through the revision process.

In Operation

If a run of text or word or letter is deleted it will be marked as “Struck-Through” that is a line through the centre of it in a bold form or colour that shows it as being struck out. New text that is inserted will be marked as underlined again in bold or coloured so that it is apparent to the reader that it is a new insert.

It may be obvious though that to retain all the deleted text in a document could mean that it becomes greatly increased in pagination to encompass all the deletes; to enable the pagination to remain correct, it is possible to change views so that struck-through text is hidden but its presence marked only by a small mark or caret to show that a deletion has occurred. Text that has been inserted or deleted will appear or disappear depending on the revision level being displayed.

Preferences govern the screen display and the printed output, and these can be set for individual revision levels as well. In addition there is an option to highlight all onscreen marks and have sidebar markers when printed.

A special characters’ feature allows a live header of a document to be created so that, if used on a master page for example, all pages can have document information such as name, date and time, as well as Blacklining revision numbers and a checksum.

A history file records the actions taken in a documents’ history and this can be printed or exported – which may be useful for billing or auditing.

Features

  • deleted text can be shown as strike-through or by caret mark;
  • inserted text will be shown as underlined;
  • through the active revision display, a true history of the document can be shown;
  • words that have been inserted or deleted will appear or disappear depending on the revision level being displayed;
  • allow to paste text with Blacklining marks in place;
  • special characters allow a live header to be built for displaying job information;
  • comprehensive set of preferences give full options and control;
  • on-screen highlight display;
  • merge, remove, and erase functions for Blacklining marks at all levels;
  • complete document Blacklining history log file;
  • manual Blacklining marking and clearing;
  • special characters allow a live header to be built for displaying job information;
  • compatibility for Acrobat Distiller PDF drivers;
  • optionally show the Blacklining level(s) in the same line as the document name;
  • generate and print a checksum on the same line as the document name when printing with registration marks (checksum is a unique number generated for the page, and if the items on the page differ from one print session to the next then the number will be different);
  • export all text from a document;
  • enhanced Blacklining user information report;
  • Open architecture allows ease of interface with other developers and customisation;
  • Mac and Windows versions available.

Benefits

Many new regulations now make executives of companies personally responsible for the content in their publications and Blacklining ensures that they, and the companies that serve them to provide their documentation, are able to be fully compliant and secure in the knowledge that they have reviewed all the alterations that may have occurred. Investing in Blacklining will ensure that users are able to meet these new audit standards and provide an excellent return on investment.

User Community

Blacklining is used in corporate, financial and legal document production as well as in editorial environments where changes to text must be recorded and displayed. Legislative, legal and security requirements are always increasing and the use of Blacklining enables users, readers and executives to be able to demonstrate a complete control document control and history.

The original version of Blacklining has been available since 1996 and is widely adopted by major companies involved in preparing such documents as Annual Report & Accounts, Share Issues, Bond and Debt Issues, and statutory reporting to US (EDGAR), UK and other stock exchanges. Indeed, for certain types of document, maintaining an audit trail of changes is a mandatory requirement of such regulatory bodies as SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in the US, LSE (London Stock Exchange) and FSA (Financial Services Authority) in the UK.

Blacklining has over time gained new features which increased its value in a wide range of non-financial sectors such as legal documents, disclaimers, terms and conditions, and government reporting. Many non-financial industries are also now stringently regulated so Blacklining might well be used for documents relating to pharmaceuticals, health and safety, food labelling, and so on.

Blacklining provides particular benefits for the production of consultative documents. A good example might be a committee, which is preparing an industry standard or specification. Typically, the members of such committees are in several different countries. Amendments can be clearly indicated and the revised draft circulated as a PDF for the next round of consultation.

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