Re: MS Word, includetext, and templates

Subject: Re: MS Word, includetext, and templates
From: Jay Maechtlen <techwriter -at- laserpubs -dot- com>
To: Paul Hanson <twer_lists_all -at- hotmail -dot- com>, TechWrl list <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:30:32 -0700

These are detailed instructions so captive users can do their jobs.
The rules keep changing, so we have regular updates and approval flows for them.
Because of that, we'll have to keep the monster modular.
This is the first time I've done anything at this scale. It is interesting.

The users get all their docs from a deployment site, and they display in Word or Excel. (cringe!)
I'm considering PDF, need to see how that affects the updating workflow and usability.
Word's Nav panel is actually pretty handy. Acrobat's Advanced Search is very similar, but don't know how to present it by default.

Thanks for the tips, great food for thought.

On 4/7/2015 1:01 PM, Paul Hanson wrote:

I am so JEALOUS! Over the 20+ years of my career, conversions - whether it
was OfficeVision to Word, WinHelp to HTML, or Word to Confluence - have been
my favorite projects. Even outside of work, I love converting - CDs to MP3,
vinyl to MP3, and cassettes to MP3. Conversions are my passion!

Recently, we've transitioned from authoring in Word and distributing PDFs to
using Confluence. I did not know anything about Confluence until I started
trying to maintain content in it.

One thing I think is worth considering - are your users going to "accept"
your docs on a wiki? We jumped into it, internally reviewed it (within our
dept & and within the company), gave it to the end-users and the first thing
they said? "How do I print a PDF of all the pages?"


We had to add a process for creating a PDF of the user guide that is posted
on our Home page. We make it clear that the PDF is a snapshot of the content
as of MM/DD/YY and that it is going to be quickly out of date if you print
the thing.

All that said, if you suspect you have multiple versions of the same text,
what I messed around with was creating a single (somewhat massive) Word doc
with all the Word doc content in it.

However, before I could do that, I took a copy of each document and replaced
the paragraph character with "- [unique_code]" so that when that document is
combined with all the other Word docs, you know where it came from. For
example, we have a "Adding a User" heading in all of our docs. If you
*don't* add a unique code to each paragraph, you get this:

Adding a User
Adding a User
Adding a User
Adding a User
Adding a User

And you don't know where they came from. For us, states are a good way to
group things so I had:

Adding a User - AZ
Adding a User- CO
Adding a User- FL
Adding a User- TX
Adding a User- VA

So, after you have that pre-processing done, combine the docs into a single
Word doc, because ultimately, what you want is something like this:

Adding a User - AZ
Adding a User- CO
Adding a User- FL
Adding a User- TX
Adding a User- VA
Changing a User - AZ
Changing a User - CO
Changing a User - FL
Changing a User - TX
Changing a User - VA

Then, you create a single version of your procedure, looking at how each
version is different. If there's something customer-specific, then you make
a note of that, but the end result is a single way you are going to tell
your users how to "add a user", how to "change a user", etc.

Then, and only then, do you begin thinking about include fields and such.
Otherwise, you are going to have very similar fields that have only slight
variations that are used for specific customers, but not a single "include"
for all of your docs.

That said, I came across this page the other day - - that may be helpful. It's
older (2007), but some of the philosophy behind it (not the Flare-specific
things] may help you out.

Paul Hanson
My blog:
Me Playing Drums:
My (frequently ignored) Twitter: @prhmusic

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+twer_lists_all=hotmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+twer_lists_all=hotmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Jay Maechtlen
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2015 1:19 PM
To: TechWrl list
Subject: MS Word, includetext, and templates

We're using Office 2013 on Windows 7, deployment planned on SharePoint.
1) Anyone using includetext fields to consolidate multiple Word docs?
Any comments on best practices, templates, styles, etc?

2) Anyone deploying on SharePoint Wiki sites?
We intend to move docs to the Wiki, but building in Word until the Wiki is
really ready. (and/or we know how to use it well enough.)

Current docs are combination of Word and Excel docs.
Comments, suggestions welcome.

Jay Maechtlen
626 444-5112 office
626 840-8875 cell

Jay Maechtlen
626 444-5112 office
626 840-8875 cell

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MS Word, includetext, and templates: From: Jay Maechtlen

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