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  1. #1
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    Law Firm Word Question (Word 97)

    We are a major midwestern law firm merging with another major firm. We have never used a commercial template/macro package - they have always used SoftWise. We have homegrown templates and macros that we are happy with and would like to continue our own development and in-depth user training. They feel they cannot possibly live without a commercial package.

    I have been asked to investigate possible issues related to coexisting for a time in both worlds until a satisfactory decision can be made. Obviously, the merged firm will have to have one method of creating a letter, memo or fax. Other than that, does anyone know of issues related to working back and forth in documents that have numbering created in SoftWise vs. numbering created in native Word; TOC's created in SoftWise vs. native Word; pleading templates created one way or the other; etc. Our firm templates and macros are very simple and exclusively use native Word features.

    If anyone has any insights on this, it would be much appreciated.

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    Re: Law Firm Word Question (Word 97)

    Hi mchristy. I'm at a law firm, too, and we are just beginning a process to migrate into Softwise.

    One of the things you should know...once a document is created, it shouldn't contain any references back to softwise, so having some users adding numbering through Softwise and having other users use native formatting won't cause a problem. As for numbering, I'm a big fan of Softwise---users have a LOT of options that have always been very confusing in native Word. The other templates (letter, memo, fax, etc) work pretty much the same as they'd work in Word, and once a letter is created in Softwise it is just a regular document, so non-MacroSuite users shouldn't have any problems with it. Softwise doesn't actually templates (in the sense that they aren't .dot files)--they use "boilerplate" documents. It was tricky getting used to their formats, but once I did, it's been very easy.

    My point is, your own development and training shouldn't be affected by being in a dual-system environment. In our case, we've switched some of our primary templates into MacroSuite but still have many that use native Word functionality, and that hasn't caused any problems at all.

    Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm not of the belief that a commercial package is necessary by any means, but they aren't necessarily bad, either. And development continues basically the same way (with the exception of pleadings/numbering stuff).

    klyjen

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    Re: Law Firm Word Question (Word 97)

    I work for a large NY law firm and we have been using Softwise for several years. I am a big fan of the Numbering Suite. If you don't use any other feature, you should definitely take advantage of this one.

    Our users love it; numbering has become incredibly easy and very flexible as has generating TOC's. If other people add native Word numbering, there should be no problem, but very few of our users do so anymore.

    When we share our documents with clients we explain that we use Softwise; if they don't, they edit using native Word and we can then incorporate those changes without any difficulty.

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    Re: Law Firm Word Question (Word 97)

    For letterhead, I would urge you to look at the and <A target="_blank" HREF=http://addbalance.com/word/download/index.htmLetterheadSystem> Letterhead System (addbalance.com/word/download/index.htm) for examples of what can be done well in the native Word methods. The idea of the letterhead system is to have letterhead components stored in a central document with a global template that holds macros. Form letter templates are setup to call the macros from the global and those macros insert the components into the documents generated by the templates. The idea here is to be able to create form letter templates that will use the latest letterhead to generate letters. Those letters, when saved, will print out two years later exactly as they printed when created. However, a new letter generated from the same template will have an updated letterhead.

    I have no experience with SoftWise but the other comments here lead me to say definitely use it for your documents using numbered paragraphs. While native Word 97 methods can be used, they are not simple. BTW, I would recommend upgrading to Word 2002 (or at least 2000). Take a look at Woody's Office Watch's last two issues for notes on this.

    IMO, concentrate your in-depth training on use of styles.
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

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    Re: Law Firm Word Question (Word 97)

    I LOVE Softwise for the creation of multi-level outline numbered documents. I'm also with a law firm and these kinds of documents make up the bulk of our word processing problems. The nice thing about Softwise (and we only use the Numbering Suite) is that almost everything it does works using normal Word features, so that users who do not have Softwise can still work with the documents. With one exception, everything that you can do in the Numbering Suite, you can do in native Word, but it does it with fewer steps and with a much less confusing user interface. The one exception is that Word is not set up to construct a TOC using just the first sentence of a heading-style paragraph.

    I don't have any answers to anybody's questions on this thread - I just wanted to say how much I like SoftWise. I don't think we'd ever be able to get our users to use heading styles to create numbered paragraphs without it.

    Lee Morgan

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    Re: Law Firm Word Question (Word 97)

    Actually, Softwise follows many of your recommendations in terms of managing letterhead components; they provide a central template which the user can customize to store all the macros needed for creating multiple documents -- not only letterhead per se, but faxes and memos as well.

    The advantage of using Softwise lies mainly in their having done a lot of the work in advance; you already have your starting point.

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