Re: locking out styles in MS Word

Subject: Re: locking out styles in MS Word
From: Lou Quillio <public -at- quillio -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 23:37:07 -0400

peri jstar wrote:
> How can a creator/author of a document or template lock the styles out from
> other users modifying them?
> Do you think it's better to force employees to create/edit documents using
> standard set styles or ...

If you're talking about SME content submissions, or other stuff
where *you'll* edit and present the output somebody else's raw
content, may I suggest the others use, uhh, Notepad?


I mean, you're not gonna use any of their formatting, anyhow.
Mostly you'll have to undo a lot of crap, crap that they spent too
much time thinking about instead of just writing.

Even if you can't talk folks into using Notepad, you still can
promote radically simplified markup:

------- Start copying here -------

**I'm bold, so bold**

_I'm italicized, from sunny Italy_

* unordered list item
* unordered list item
* unordered list item

1. ordered list item
2. ordered list item
3. ordered list item

Oh, look. It's an _ordinary_ paragraph. Actually -- now pay
attention here -- some very clever "typographic" transformations
are also [possible][1]. And links, even **referential** ones.

* Some lists are
1. nested,
2. others are not

Big Heading

Here's another paragraph ...

> followed by
> this blockquote

Not As Big Heading

Can't beat paragraphs, though. They always do the
heavy lifting.

Still, some of `this sentence` is inline code. Sometimes you
need to be even more explicit, though ...

This is an entire code block. You
can tell (and transform it as such)
because it's indented by at least
four spaces or one tab.

[1]: "look-up at"

------- Okay, you can stop copying --------

They can send it to you as plaintext or in MS Word if they must (in
which case you copy-paste it to plaintext, and scrap the MS Word).

Then you transform it to XHTML, comme ça:

(Remember that block you copied, above? Paste it into the Markdown
dingus. Choose SmartyPants and you'll get typographer's quotes, em
dashes, ellipses, all that.)

Then stitch the output into whatever *your* source is by importing
the XHTML. Your authoritative styles take over from there.

Et voilà. _You_ get the bare text and raw semantics you were
interested in, _they_ get to stop futzing and distracting themselves
with MS Word nonsense that gets thrown out anyway.

Folks can work this way if you show them. Sometimes they thank you.

Even if you can't quite implement this whole toolchain (it's easier
than it sounds), the point I'm making is that only text and *very
basic* semantics are what we ask of SMEs. All else is noise.

So instead of reckoning how to "force" folks to use mandated styles
(they'll screw it up anyhow; your workload will be the same), maybe
find a way to let them forget about styles completely -- or at least
make it so you can extract clean material easily, whatever they send.

Can you dig it? How about thinking even bigger by thinking even

In my world, this is how we ride.


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locking out styles in MS Word: From: peri jstar

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