This educational publisher streamlined its publishing workflow thanks to structured authoring in DITA, a CCMS, and Typefi automated publishing.

Kaplan is a large educational publisher that produces a wide range of content for test preparation, professional development, career training, and language education. 

The Kaplan Professional Education division is currently using Typefi. This division produces professional development content for financial planning, real estate insurance, and accounting.

Kaplan Professional Education produces both print and digital versions of this content, including 400+ page print textbooks and e-books. The content is also available online through Kaplan’s own Learning Management System.

These publications can be somewhat complex, with numerous figures, tables, and mathematical equations. Many of them also include assessment content, which consists of questions, answer keys, and explanations.

The challenge: Fixing a slow and expensive manual publishing process

Prior to 2014, the publishing workflow for Kaplan Professional Education was completely manual. Content was authored in Microsoft Word, then imported manually into Adobe InDesign—a tedious process for books 400-500 pages in length.

“Before we started using Typefi, production was a really lengthy process,” said Mike Wolff, Digital Production Manager at Kaplan. “It involved importing the Word file into InDesign and then styling all the content manually.”

After years of using Word, Kaplan switched to structured authoring in DITA in 2014. This change brought some great benefits, but it also introduced new challenges. Getting the DITA content into InDesign was outsourced, a costly process that never produced flawless outputs.

“It was an expensive and time-consuming process because the output that we got from the DITA to InDesign conversions needed a lot of cleanup after the fact to make it look presentable,” Mike said.

Automated publishing for DITA content using InDesign

Once Kaplan discovered that it was possible to automate the most tedious parts of publishing using Typefi, the process improved exponentially.

Content is still authored in DITA, but it is now stored in Componize CCMS. This content can easily be pulled into Typefi and published automatically using Adobe InDesign.

“We chose Typefi as a partner because their software allows us to quickly transform our DITA content into our desired deliverables, whether it be a print product, a PDF, and on occasion, EPUBs,” Mike said. 

Typefi leverages the power of Adobe InDesign to produce high-quality outputs in a wide range of common formats. Typefi takes care of all the typesetting and layout of the content automatically. In the end, Kaplan gets an InDesign file that can be edited further if needed.

“The InDesign files come out really well. It’s really impressive how close they are to ready to go once they come out of Typefi,” said Mike.

Streamlined review and editing process

Once the InDesign files are finalised, a PDF is generated and Kaplan’s copy editors and proofreaders go to work. 

The PDF is marked up and ultimately sent back to the typesetting team. If the revisions are minor, the team updates the InDesign file and generates a new PDF. 

If the changes are more substantial, edits are made to the DITA source content and the job is run through Typefi again to generate a new InDesign file in just minutes.

This is a massive time-saver because Kaplan no longer has to re-typeset the entire InDesign file manually if changes are needed.

Faster production and cost savings

Typefi has provided some incredible benefits to Kaplan, primarily faster publishing speed and the elimination of outsourcing.

“Having Typefi has automated much of our production process, and it also allows us to keep the work in-house. So as a result of that, it has saved us a tonne of time and money,” Mike said.

“Where we used to have to outsource a lot, we don’t have to do that anymore. We can keep it within Kaplan. And, it really has been a game changer for our processes.”

This content was adapted from an Insights from Experts interview hosted & created by Componize. It originally appeared on the Componize blog on 2 June 2023.