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  1. #1
    Silver Lounger
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    Creating a Set of Similar Handbooks (2000)

    What is the best way of organizing a dozen manuals which are around 40 pages with about 50% boilerplate? The boilerplate only differs in the documents by having a different course name or number. I had hoped to use a master document which defined several text variables like course, title and quarter. I would then have each of the boilerplate files as subdocuments with DOCVARIABLE or DOCPROPERTY fields in them. But, I cannot get these fields to update: if I use DOCPROPERTY, it uses the property from the subdocument file, if I use DOCVARIABLE, nothing seems to happen. I can get both DOCVARIABLE and DOCPROPERTY to work in a single document, but cannot figure out how to do it with multiple documents. How should I do this? TIA
    <font face="Comic Sans MS">Sam Barrett, CACI </font face=comic>
    <small>And the things that you have heard... commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2</small>

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Creating a Set of Similar Handbooks (2000)

    Hi Sammy:
    Don't use Master Documents. There are numerous posts in the Lounge about how buggy & prone to corruption they are.

    How about using a single document for the boilerplate text (e.g. call it boilerplate.doc). You can then bookmark the different sections of boilerplate text in this boilerplate.doc. In each of the manuals, you could use an {INCLUDETEXT} field. The syntax is:
    { INCLUDETEXT "DriveLetter:FolderSubfolder etc.boilerplate.doc" BookmarkName }

    Note the double backslashes in this field.

    When you wanted to update the manuals, you only need to make the changes in the boilerplate.doc. You can also update the boilerplate.doc by making a change in one of the manuals & pressing Ctrl+Shift+F7.

    In addition, if your variable information can be kept in a table, you could do a mailmerge to generate these manuals, updating the variables in the datasource. Your main document would then contain the proper mergefields & would contain { INCLUDETEXT } fields -OR- simply contain the boilerplate text & mergefields.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Star Lounger
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    Re: Creating a Set of Similar Handbooks (2000)

    The easy answer is don't use Word. Word is a page or document processor and is no good at making publications. I've spent a large chunk of my life writing manuals and I'd advise you to go out and buy Ventura or Framemaker and do the job properly. It's a lot easier in the long run.

    Ventura works like a "shell" - you tell it that a manual is composed of files a, b & c and it assembles them, formats and constructs indexes etc across the whole publication. So if chapter B is present in all pubs it's easy. And you can amend chapter b in whatever processor you fancy and Ventura will always use the latest version.

    David

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