RE: word templates vs. layout/design

Subject: RE: word templates vs. layout/design
From: "Michele Marques" <marquesm -at- autros -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 10:19:21 -0500

A number of people have found that a big problem with corporate Word
templates is that people start documents from the templates, but don't use
them properly.

I have definitely found this to be the case when I make templates of the
sort I would use (i.e., just set up a bunch of styles and maybe
header/footers and maybe other initial boilerplate text). Sometimes I will
receive a document with a header that includes the phrase "<replace with
manual name>", but everything formatted in normal with bold, bullets, etc.

The *only* way that I have had templates work without training is to create
templates for specific purposes and to program new-document VBA code and
create a special tool bar that makes things easier for the user. I have also
only successfully attempted this on brief documents where there are only a
few acceptable formats - I am not sure if I could make this work for
documents which allow a lot of freedom.

For example, if I were creating a template for users to create simple
my new-document code might prompt for the procedure name and number of
steps. I would then put buttons on the toolbar for "continue step" (add a
non-numbered paragraph of the appropriate style following the current one),
"insert step" (in case the user guessed wrong at the start) and "delete
step" (to make sure the template user doesn't mess up styles when deleting
paragraphs). It takes a while to code, but can really pay off with the
template being used properly.

Michele Marques
Technical Writer,
Autros Healthcare Solutions
marquesm -at- autros -dot- com

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