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  1. #1
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    Using Normal.dot in Word

    This started from another thread- but it was diverging from the original question, so I thought it was worth while starting another thread (and opening myself to all sorts of ridicule!)

    The fundamental problem is that it's so easy to deploy7 solutions in Normal.dot- but distributing them causes all sorts of hassles.

    I have a situation in our site where I want all templates to reference a common routine on autoNew.

    After many problems with Normal.dot, I sought to use add-ins- templates in the Word startup folder which (supposedly) are available from all routines. Some of the problems were with the fragility of Normal.dot- there's something which is zapping it with old versions of the template. The other problem is distributing it without zapping users' settings. And when the user whose settings are zapped are the head honcho, it's not pleasant.

    Well, as it turns out, it appears they're not quite. An "AutoNew" or "AutoOpen" in an add-in does not appear to get executed.

    So this is a solution I've come up with.

    In my Normal.dot I have a skeleton AutoNew. All it does is to run a routine in my add-in. So any changes to AutoNew, I only have to put in the add-in.

    Every template has a reference set to Normal.dot, so the AutoNew in Normal.dot is executed.

    Also, in the add-in, is an AutoExec. Mysteriously, this DOES run when Word is opened.

    The job of the AutoNew in the add-in is to check the code in Normal.dot. If the code is non-existant, or if it is different from what it is supposed to be, that single module is copied into Normal.dot. All other user settings etc are maintained.

    It's experimental at the moment, but it appears to be working so far. We will be rolling it out more widely shortly if we can't find problems.

    So any flaws in the approach would be welcome.
    Subway Belconnen- home of the Signboard to make you smile. Get (almost) daily updates- follow SubwayBelconnen on Twitter.

  2. #2
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    >"Using Normal.dot in Word"

    Oh yeah! THIS restricts the thread content (hah hah!)



    OK. Comments.


    1. I'm going to try this as soon as I disconnect. I use the same philosophy in my boot sequence (in theory, a one-line Autoexec.bat that calls c:batstartme.bat)


    2. "If the code is non-existant, or if it is different from what it is supposed to be," ... you do inform the user that you've stored their code in a *.BAS somewhere?


    3. "Also, in the add-in, is an AutoExec. " yet you say the AutoNew/Autoopen in an add-in does not take effect. What is an "add-in" to you? Anything in the Startup folder? Anything else that appears in the Tools, templates&Addins list won't be active until after the user gains control, I think; that is, for your purposes an add-in would have to be in the user's Startup folder.


    4. How secure does your system need to be? If the user changes the Startup folder (Tools, Options, Filelocations), are you sunk?



    In asking these questions I'm so aware of what it's like to go into a site for a few days, and in my capcity of techie-sort-of, want to or need to disable automatic things. Or else I'm trying to demonstrate an Auto- macro during one-on-one training. Or demonstrate template locations, or ...

  3. #3
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    Geoff,

    Ridicule? My, my and heavens no! This is a great thread and your post is a smashing start. I'd like to know a whole lot more about this topic than I do. I hope lots of insights surface. Thanks..........
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    Geoff,

    >Every template has a reference set to Normal.dot, so the AutoNew in Normal.dot is executed.

    Why is the reference necessary? Will not an AutoNew in Normal.dot execute no matter what document is open? I don't think you need to make a ref to Normal in the templates.
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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  5. #5
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    Chris,

    >If the code is non-existant, or different...
    Then what's in there is simply replaced without informing the user- although it is logged in case we need to debug. The users don't need to know why something wasn't working, they just need to see it working.

    >What is an "add-in" to you?
    Yes, anything in the startup folder. AutoNew/AutoOpen does not take effect, but AutoExec does, when Word opens. And that's enough to check the state of Normal.dot and to change it.

    >If the user changes the Startup folder are you sunk?
    No, because our LAN people set the registry setting back to the default every time Word is started up.

    If you didn't have friendly LAN people, you could perhaps reset it on Word closing- or even hijack or lock out the ability to change the folders.
    Subway Belconnen- home of the Signboard to make you smile. Get (almost) daily updates- follow SubwayBelconnen on Twitter.

  6. #6
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    >Will not an AutoNew in Normal.dot execute no matter what document is open?

    I think I've got the reference because we have other common routines which explicitly reference macro names in Normal.dot (They too are skeletons). Maybe I can reference the add-in instead- but I think I had some troubles doing that. I make it a habit to include the reference even if I don't explicitly reference, as someone who comes after me may need the reference, and it won't be there.
    Subway Belconnen- home of the Signboard to make you smile. Get (almost) daily updates- follow SubwayBelconnen on Twitter.

  7. #7
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    Using Word in a networked environment possess some important considerations related to the Normal.dot file. These Q articles are very helpful:

    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q167/2/84.ASP>http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ar...s/Q167/2/84.ASP</A>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q198/0/39.ASP>http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ar...s/Q198/0/39.ASP</A>
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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  8. #8
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    Kevin,

    Thanks for those references. It's interesting that there's so many options for the Normal.dot.

    Our installation sets the startup & template folders to a user's LAN drive. Each user has their own LAN directory, so I would not have thought there would be any problems between two users logging on. These articles are talking about different users sharing a Normal.dot on the hard drive, so is perhaps not applicable directly- but it's useful to know about the possibilities.
    Subway Belconnen- home of the Signboard to make you smile. Get (almost) daily updates- follow SubwayBelconnen on Twitter.

  9. #9
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    Re: Using Normal.dot in Word

    Geoff,

    That's how we solved the problem too. Each user's normal.dot is on their home folder on the LAN. I know we could also have solved the problem by just letting Word find the Normal.dot on the C: drive in the user profile folder, but this does not work well with Win98/Word 97. It works pretty well with Win2k (the Documents and Settings folder system works much better than the old windowsprofiles system) -- that is, Word seems to cache Normal.dot consistently under the user profile folder structure on Win2k PCs, but not so reliably or not at all for Win98 PCs.

    My other consideration was our LAN people are known to disable User Profiles when troubleshooting. That would cause other problems too: user's changes to Normal.dot would not be copied back to the network, so roaming users would not see their changes when they log in on remote PCs.

    Keep in mind that Word will look for and find the "easiest" normal.dot even if user profiles are turned on, even if you have the LAN setup as we have. I have found Word using normal in the C:Program FileMicrosoft OfficeOffice folder (not the Templates folder!) even though the UserTemplates file location points to the home folder!!! The only way to fix this is to delete ALL normal.dot files on the C: drive. Could MS have invented a better way?
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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