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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Tool to link docs into a main doc merge

    I need to regularly rebuild hundreds of main documents, as parts of their content changes. There are 6-8 parts in each main doc, 3-4 of which will rarely change, 3-4 changing every 1-3 months. Any part can go into many main docs. There will be hundreds of different content variations for a couple of the parts categories.

    I would like to build each main doc by merging or importing its required parts docs. The parts need to be linked in the main doc, so that as part content changes, the main docs can be updated via something like Update Fields or Refresh Links.

    Does anyone know of a tool which can simplify this process?

    A couple of tools which come close, but lack the vital linking function, are Graham Mayor's adaptation of Woody's Boiler http://www.gmayor.com/Boiler.htm and KUtool's Merge https://www.extendoffice.com/product...documents.html
    Both of those import a bunch of files, but don't create links.

    It would simplify my parts file management if such a tool could also handle bookmark linking, so I could keep a lot of small 'parts' [snippets of only a few lines] in only a few docs.

    I know how to do this task via manually linking to the parts' files and bookmarks from within each main doc. I'm just looking for a faster and less error-prone way.
    Last edited by Lugh; 2016-06-21 at 07:21.
    Lugh.
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  2. #2
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    For the snippets, you could try AutoText and AutoText fields.
    Automated Boilerplate Using Microsoft Word
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

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    Lugh (2016-06-22)

  4. #3
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Thanks Charles. That's quite a page you have there, very impressive and informative.

    I've considered AutoText for the snippets, but I may have a more workable [simpler, easier, transferable to others to work on] method.

    Currently I have one main template for all these main docs, built from scratch with styles also built from scratch--ie no link to Normal template or Normal style. The main docs can be divided into about 10 categories, max 20 looking forward.

    I think I'll make a separate template for each category. The main template will become a global auto-load to hold the macros, styles, ribbon customization. The category templates will hold text common to their category, and I'll probably include all the relevant snippets in each, so the user will just need to delete the unneeded ones.

    This should reduce the dependency on paths and linking codes, making the whole setup more stable and visible. Trading some efficiency for greater ease and reliability. It'll be clearer if this is feasible after some testing.
    Lugh.
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    From your description of the problem, perhaps Word is not the best tool for the job. I know this is sacrilege to suggest it since I'm sure a vba-coded solution could be workable but the output formats are always going to be restricted with Word and your solution will be very specialised.

    Have you looked at AuthorIT or Madcap Flare? These tools allow you to author content in modular chunks and assemble any number of output documents by combining each of the modular chunks in different ways. They also allow you to output to Word/PDF/Web/Help etc. formats. The other thing you get natively from these tools is the ability to manage localisation (language translations) much more efficiently.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Lugh (2016-06-22)

  7. #5
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Lockton View Post
    perhaps Word is not the best tool for the job. ... the output formats are always going to be restricted with Word and your solution will be very specialised.
    I'm covered on the output side, the processes which the final Word docs feed into take care of electronic, print [and audio later] final delivery formats. I have those processes in good shape, it's the content assembly and update I need to streamline.
    Have you looked at AuthorIT or Madcap Flare?
    Impressive looking enterprise solutions, which are way beyond my small biz needs or budget. Nice to see some validation for my modular components approach though!

    Thanks.
    Lugh.
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