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  1. #1
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    How would you manage a huge number of Word documents such as originating summons, briefs, motions, forensic reports, and exhibit coverhsheets? I notice most attorneys prefer numeric file names such as 1234.doc? What are the pros and cons? How could they keep track of the Word documents with otherwise meaningless numeric file names? Do they also use a database such as Access and FileMaker to keep tracks of the Word documents?
    Armstrong

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    [quote name='armsys' post='768080' date='29-Mar-2009 12:11']How would you manage a huge number of Word documents[/quote]
    Organisations that have very large numbers of documents to manage use Enterprise Document Management products such as Documentum

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    Hi Stuart,
    Thanks for your fast feedback. IMHO, your recommended solution is an overkill, unaffordable and unpractical by most people, especially for 99.9% small law firms and pro se litigants. I'm a nonbeliever that most expensive toys can promise most productive results. It's about of personal discipline and practice. Just my 2 cents.
    Armstrong

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    [quote name='armsys' post='768090' date='29-Mar-2009 12:54']Hi Stuart,
    Thanks for your fast feedback. IMHO, your recommended solution is an overkill, unaffordable and unpractical by most people, especially for 99.9% small law firms and pro se litigants. I'm a nonbeliever that most expensive toys can promise most productive results. It's about of personal discipline and practice. Just my 2 cents.
    Armstrong[/quote]
    Armstrong,

    No problem. On a personal level I just use meaningful folder names and file names, keep archived documents in separate folders, and make sure that no folder has more than a few dozen files - but I'm not a law firm. I have worked with a few large law firms and they all seem to use products like the one I suggested.

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    [quote name='StuartR' post='768093' date='29-Mar-2009 20:10']Armstrong,

    No problem. On a personal level I just use meaningful folder names and file names, keep archived documents in separate folders, and make sure that no folder has more than a few dozen files - but I'm not a law firm. I have worked with a few large law firms and they all seem to use products like the one I suggested.[/quote]
    Stuart,
    Thanks a lot for sharing your personal user experience with us. Compared with the long descriptive file names, I find the numeric file names are far easier to retrieve and reference amongst parties in an action.
    Armstrong

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    [quote name='armsys' post='768090' date='29-Mar-2009 04:54']IMHO, your recommended solution is an overkill, unaffordable and unpractical by most people, especially for 99.9% small law firms and pro se litigants. I'm a nonbeliever that most expensive toys can promise most productive results. It's about of personal discipline and practice. Just my 2 cents.[/quote]
    Individual pro se litigants obviously are not going to buy document management software. The primary purpose of such software is to attach and track metadata, add searchability, ease versioning, and resolve collaboration issues. These are not needed if only one or two people are working on a matter, and for a single project, purpose built litigation software or online services may be a better match.

    For day-to-day document management, we use WORLDOX, which has pricing and equipment requirements suited to smaller firms. See WORLDOX GX Pricing and Worldox GX Tech Requirements (no database server required).

    Of course, changing filing methods -- whether you currently use local drives, network "user folders," a shared filing system based on documented rules, or the free features offered by Sharepoint services -- always involves a little trauma. True centralization involves compromises. WORLDOX does allow you to configure "silos" to fit department preferences; we certainly do that. It also allows, but I don't imagine anyone would encourage, that each stubborn principal that insists on their own profile design can have it their way. I suggest hiring a consultant that has done a lot of law firm installations to assist in the planning process so that you can get the most out of the product and not lock in unproductive practices or migrate to a generic structure that fits poorly.

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    [quote name='jscher2000' post='768149' date='30-Mar-2009 04:33']Individual pro se litigants obviously are not going to buy document management software. The primary purpose of such software is to attach and track metadata, add searchability, ease versioning, and resolve collaboration issues. These are not needed if only one or two people are working on a matter, and for a single project, purpose built litigation software or online services may be a better match.

    For day-to-day document management, we use WORLDOX, which has pricing and equipment requirements suited to smaller firms. See WORLDOX GX Pricing and Worldox GX Tech Requirements (no database server required).

    Of course, changing filing methods -- whether you currently use local drives, network "user folders," a shared filing system based on documented rules, or the free features offered by Sharepoint services -- always involves a little trauma. True centralization involves compromises. WORLDOX does allow you to configure "silos" to fit department preferences; we certainly do that. It also allows, but I don't imagine anyone would encourage, that each stubborn principal that insists on their own profile design can have it their way. I suggest hiring a consultant that has done a lot of law firm installations to assist in the planning process so that you can get the most out of the product and not lock in unproductive practices or migrate to a generic structure that fits poorly.[/quote]
    Hi Jeff,
    Grateful for your earnest effort in sharing the comprehensive analysis of the Word doc management with us. Certainly, solutions aforementioned by Stuart and you are beneficial and useful.
    Being a software developer, I prefer to develop my own apps so that I can modify it to suit my needs.
    For the searchability, I recommend dtsearch (http://www.dtsearch.com/), the most powerful search tool on the market.
    For this topic, I'm only interested in the fundamental--namely, the naming of the Word documents, instead of the splendid toys. To date, I'm convinced the numeric doc names are far more superior than long descriptive names. It's easier to refer it.
    For the doc management, I simply keep track it with an Excel spreadsheet and MindManager mindmap. It suffices for all practical purposes. Just my 2 cents.
    Armstrong

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    [quote name='armsys' post='768164' date='29-Mar-2009 18:57']Hi Jeff,
    Grateful for your earnest effort in sharing the comprehensive analysis of the Word doc management with us. Certainly, solutions aforementioned by Stuart and you are beneficial and useful.
    Being a software developer, I prefer to develop my own apps so that I can modify it to suit my needs.
    For the searchability, I recommend dtsearch (http://www.dtsearch.com/), the most powerful search tool on the market.
    For this topic, I'm only interested in the fundamental--namely, the naming of the Word documents, instead of the splendid toys. To date, I'm convinced the numeric doc names are far more superior than long descriptive names. It's easier to refer it.
    For the doc management, I simply keep track it with an Excel spreadsheet and MindManager mindmap. It suffices for all practical purposes. Just my 2 cents.
    Armstrong[/quote]

    So.... what was the question ???
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

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    [quote name='DocWatson' post='768173' date='30-Mar-2009 08:27']So.... what was the question ??? [/quote]
    Hi DocWatson,
    Thanks for questioning my originating question. I seek the small things you can do to increase your efficiency to manage a huge number of files. That's, practice, not tools, as clearly indicated in the subject. Hope this becomes more crystal clear to you.

    RE: Enterprise Document Management System
    Actually I did have personal experience with these expensive toys previously. None was satisfactory, not to mention the steep learning curve and the nonexistent tech support. Of course, the latter you have to pay extra on top the product price tag. I would not recommend my clients to consider any enterprise document management system.

    Armstrong

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    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for introducing WORLDOX GX. I like the features. Thanks a lot.
    Armstrong

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    [quote name='armsys' post='768164' date='30-Mar-2009 09:57']Being a software developer, I prefer to develop my own apps so that I can modify it to suit my needs.
    For the searchability, I recommend dtsearch (http://www.dtsearch.com/), the most powerful search tool on the market.
    For this topic, I'm only interested in the fundamental--namely, the naming of the Word documents, instead of the splendid toys. To date, I'm convinced the numeric doc names are far more superior than long descriptive names. It's easier to refer it.
    For the doc management, I simply keep track it with an Excel spreadsheet and MindManager mindmap. It suffices for all practical purposes. Just my 2 cents.
    Armstrong[/quote]

    As a software developer, you could learn some of the VBA associated with the Word document model and probably utilize the metadata capabilities to "suit your needs". There are enormous possibilities with inbuilt and custom document properties. There are also possibilities in naming files as delimited strings, which can be parsed, searched, filtered, ordered etc. using quite simple homespun software - or probably just the inbuilt functionality of your XL spreadsheet plus a few imaginative formulas. There is a ton of expertise here in the Lounge on such matters. Give it a shot and feel free to ask if you get stuck.

    Alan

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    [quote name='AlanMiller' post='768190' date='30-Mar-2009 10:43']As a software developer, you could learn some of the VBA associated with the Word document model and probably utilize the metadata capabilities to "suit your needs". There are enormous possibilities with inbuilt and custom document properties. There are also possibilities in naming files as delimited strings, which can be parsed, searched, filtered, ordered etc. using quite simple homespun software - or probably just the inbuilt functionality of your XL spreadsheet plus a few imaginative formulas. There is a ton of expertise here in the Lounge on such matters. Give it a shot and feel free to ask if you get stuck.

    Alan[/quote]
    Hi Alan,
    Appreciate your enlightenment. Currently I'm still a total dummy in VBA. After reading great posts here, today I decide to learn about VBA and Access. Alan, many thanks for your idea.
    Armstrong

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    Just as an example, I set up a system for a client which automatically generated various Word docs from XL spreadsheet "records". Using VBA, it was possible to generate appropriate filenames, easily parsable at the hyphen delimiters. Further to this, the appropriate document properties (plus custom ones) can be autogenerated just as easily. The native Windows Explorer can be tweaked to use customized views on appropriate folders, giving sortable field options on any of the doc properties you wish.

    Still want more? It was also possible to generate tooltips for "instant" document recognition, using the information stored in the document properties. Lots of potential to use many (not so obvious) built in features of Windows and Office.

    Alan
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    [quote name='armsys' post='768164' date='29-Mar-2009 15:57']Being a software developer, I prefer to develop my own apps so that I can modify it to suit my needs.[/quote]
    Hmmm, I wish I could afford to have a software developer on staff. I'd have fewer long weekends at the office, that's for sure...

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    Hi Alan,
    Grateful you for shedding light with live samples. Your post is the most satisfying. It's simple and easy to use. It can be expanded, modified and customized if needed, without being tormented by the bugs and nonexistent tech support.
    BTW, how could you generate these doc #? Is it generated by table lookup? Is it sequential or randomized?

    Armstrong

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