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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Sharing Word documents on a network (Word 97/2000/XP)

    Question: How do I share Word documents without getting the "File in use" dialog, even on read only files?

    Our small business is developing simple procedure manuals and guides for internal use. The documents are linked with hyperlinks. The files are stored on an NT server, which is shared by all users.

    Most of the users will be contributing and changing the guides, which will be constantly evolving. The need for security is minimal, but preventing accidental changes or deletions would be preferable.

    Once developed I would like each user to have the guides constantly open, so simultaneous read only access of files is essential. I initially thought of html & a web browser might be the way to go, but as the documents are constantly changing and half the office is using Word 97, that path seemed too difficult.

    Some ideas (VBA or otherwise) would by I appreciated.

    Regards

    Matthew Keyser

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Sharing Word documents on a network (Word 97/2000/XP)

    Word locks documents at the whole-file level. For reading, Word will let any number of people open a document as read only, but only the first person can save changes to the original. If you want to offer the ability for multiple people to simultaneously update a file, you probably need to use a different tool. For example, you could put each paragraph into a database, and then generate pages on the fly with HTML. Users then could click an Edit button to open the paragraph in a form, modify it, and submit the change to the database. This has the added benefit that you can track who changed it and when. But it's a lot of work... unless there's a handy package out there ready for download... and rich formatting is more difficult.

  3. #3
    Star Lounger
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    Re: Sharing Word documents on a network (Word 97/2000/XP)

    Thanks for the reply.

    No I didn't want it to be that complicated. My needs and problem are simple (I think).

    In "browsing mode" I would like the user to be able to open the file read-only **without** being prompted by the "File is in use" dialog if another user already has the file open. If a user than wants to edit a file they would need exclusive access and remove the read only file property. In our office they would just wal karound & get the other person(s) to close the file.

    I was thinking of setting all the files read only for browsing and than using VBA to change the property of a file prior to it being opened for editing. But I see littlle point of having the property of the file set to read only if the user is still prompted with the "File in use" dialog each time they access a file already opened by another user.

    If I can get rid of the File in Use dialog than I would be happy. I can tackle the VBA open & edit problem once I am over this first hurdle.

    Thanks

    Matthew

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Sharing Word documents on a network (Word 97/2000/XP)

    One technique would be to save the document as a template (for example, in the folder designated as the Workgroup Templates folder) and have each person create a personal instance (e.g., Document1) of it through File|New for reading. This is a bit less intuitive than File|Open.

    Another approach would be to write a macro that would intercept the FileOpen dialog and, if the document matched your parameters, copy the file to a local folder, such as c:working, and open it from there. This requires pushing out a global template or changes to users' Normal.dot templates, and adds a bit of overhead to every File|Open.

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