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  1. #1
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    No Auto Style Updates (97 SR-2)

    I am assisting about 30 users who have developed documents over the past two years. These documents must be updated by other users in the group and then distributed to different people. Unfortunately, they were never standardized, and so NORMAL.DOT has different settings and styles for almost every document, along with hard formatting in the documents themselves. As a result, when different people open the documents, they sometimes get a quite different look and feel. I've thought of creating an individual template for each document, for example, DOCNAME1.DOC would have a template DOCNAME1.DOT. I've also just found a thread on WOPR re: running VBA to turn off "automatically update styles" on all documents. What are pros and cons that you see, and any other solutions (simpler ones, I hope)? What am I not considering?

    Thanks,
    Caroline

  2. #2
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    Re: No Auto Style Updates (97 SR-2)

    Hi Caroline. I believe that I was involved in one of those threads you mentioned. I would DEFINITELY recommend that you be careful with the "automatically update document styles" settings. Do not set them on any documents based on a normal.dot template, as your documents will not all look the same (as users can usually make changes to their styles stored in the normal.dot). However, I can see how activating the setting might be useful for documents based on different templates, if you want to prevent any document-specific style modifications for those documents.

    Activating the "automatically update document styles" setting (from Tools| Templates & Add-ins) would mean that, each time a DocName1.doc is opened, it will copy the style definitions from the docname1.dot template into the document itself, in effect negating any modifications that have been made to those styles in the document. Use this only if that's what you want; I am in a law firm environment, and we did NOT want those settings. They caused more problems than they ever possibly could have been worth. However, depending on your environment, it could be useful (say, if your documents are highly stylized and need to be consistent across the board).

    However, if your goal is to AVOID losing any of the changes the author has made to a document, I'd suggest turning OFF the "automatically update document styles" setting across the board. Otherwise, you'd hit this scenario: user1 creates a document using heading styles (for example) and modifies those heading styles in the document (say, to add outline numbering). The document is based on the normal.dot and has the "automatically update document styles" setting activated. User1 saves the document and closes it. User2 opens the document, but can't see the heading numbering, because immediately upon opening the document, the styles from User2's normal.dot are copied into the document, overwriting the modifications made by User1. Result=bad.

    Certainly, I think it is fair to say that the setting should NEVER be activated on the normal.dot. I would only activate it on other templates if you are required to prevent users from makinig any document-specific modifications to styles.

    Hope that helps...and happy new year!

    klyjen

  3. #3
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    Re: No Auto Style Updates (97 SR-2)

    Caroline,

    Let me discourage you from creating a separate template for each document; that would be impossible to deploy and maintain. (For example, every user would have to have a copy of every template, in exactly the same directory; otherwise documents opened on another user's machine still would not be in contact with their attached template.)

    There is no easy fix for the situation you describe. This is the result of document production in a non-standardized environment. What's not clear from your post is whether you now wish to standardize the documents and the environment, or simply preserve each existing document in its non-standardized state.

    From your post one might gather that the latter is the case. In my view doing this is not going to solve your problems as it will always be impossible to nail down any predictability as to how documents are going to behave on other users' machines.

    The most maintainable solution going forward is to create a standardized template or set or templates (based on feedback to be tailored to what your users need), and then imposing those standards on your users.

    The existing documents will then need to be "converted" to this new standard. That is painful but it only needs to be done once. Also, it may be possible to automate that process at least partly using macros.

    Hope this helps,
    Gary

  4. #4
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    Re: No Auto Style Updates (97 SR-2)

    I think that my best course of action is to instruct all of the users that they should not set the "automatic update document styles" on normal.dot. I won't create individualized templates for each document. I'd like to standardize them all but it doesn't make sense. The authors are under pressure to update existing documents by April, and we don't have the staff, time, or budget to convert to standardized templates. Then, this summer, the documents will start to be broken down to components to be loaded to a database with different formatting requirements anyway. I am going to suggest a standardized template for new documents.

    Thanks,
    Caroline

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