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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Incorporating new template changes into existing documents

    I know this is a wrong-end-of-the-funnel operation; it's simply not the way Word is designed to be used. Unfortunately it's what we need.

    We've got a large and growing number of Word documents based on a single template. The template defines the document format; when the format changes the template is changed, and all of the documents need to change too.

    Is there any way to make this happen automatically, or at least to make the process of updating all those documents by hand a bit less arduous?

  2. #2
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    Is it only the style definitions that has changed or is there content changes as well?

    You will need a macro to update the content changes but refreshing the styles from the template is much more straightforward.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
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    Either type of change is possible, but style definition changes are much more common. A solution that only addresses style changes would be less than ideal, but far better than no solution at all.

  4. #4
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    You can re-attach a template and update the document styles via the Templates and Add-ins dialog. Unfortunately, this dialog is included within the normally-hidden Developer ribbon group, so you'll need to use File > Options > Customize to enable it (The command is "Document Template").

    This will bring the document styles up-to-date, but as Andrew noted, would not change things like page layouts or header/footers if they've been changed since the template was originally applied.

    Given that you are dealing with a large number of documents, it may be worth creating a macro to help automate it for you. I have found that the most complicated challenge for this type of task is dealing with documents where there are multiple sections with differing page layouts (i.e. portrait and landscape layouts), and header/footers that reference (or not) previous instances. If you expect this would be only an occasional situation, you could just have the macro re-attach the template and post an alert for manual intervention if the document contains >1 section.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    You can create a new document based on the template and copy the content from the old document into it.

    As much as possible, you can have text/graphic content that may change be stored as AutoText in the template and then implemented in the document with AutoText fields. These will need to be updated when a change is made to the underlying AutoText.

    Also note that, generally, it is not a good idea to leave the box to update styles from template checked.
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

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