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  1. #1
    pls
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    Word 'Company' property - changing the default?

    Okay, this one has been driving me nuts. The company for which I work has just undergone a merger. Unsurprisingly, we wish to change the default company name that is pre-populated to the File|Properties field in the Office applications.

    Excel and Powerpoint were easy, though certainly not logical. Using the Sysinternals.com RegMon.exe utility, I was able to determine that they were drawing the company name from the registry location:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentV ersionUninstall{00010409-78E1-11D2-B60F-006097C998E73}RegCompany

    Changing this value will change the default "Company" metadata field for Excel and Powerpoint. I cannot fathom why Office is drawing this sort of configuration data from an uninstall key (aside from the obvious 'benightedness' explanation).

    RegMon turned up another registry value which looked promising, but it seems to refresh itself from the HKLM key:

    HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOffice9.0UserInfoCompany.

    This is a REG_BINARY value that stores a Unicode copy of the value in the aforementioned Uninstall location, and it appears to be largely irrelevant to the task at hand.

    Word is the serious pain. It does query the above registry keys, but ignores their values - File|Properties for new documents still reveals the old company name.

    "Aha," I decided. "Word must be storing the Company name in the normal.dot for each user!" Straight off, I wrote a WSH script to sequentially load all the normal.dot files on a workstation, and query the BuiltInDocumentProperties.Item("Company") property. Sure enough the old company name was stored there. I modified the script to change the property to the new name, and save the modified normal.dot back to the same location. Querying the modified files revealed the change was made successfully. Right-clicking on a normal.dot and selecting New showed the desired behavior: a blank document with the new company name in File|Properties.

    BUT!

    Opening word from the Start Menu, or creating a new document using File|New still result in the old company name appearing! Thus enused a search of microsoft.com, the internet, and TechNet. The following intelligence has been garnered:

    Q240216 "OFF2000: How Office 2000 Manages Templates" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ar...s/Q240/2/16.ASP) reveals:

    <pre>These are the templates that Microsoft Office 2000
    programs use to create new workbooks, documents, databases,
    and slides. As the name suggests, there is not a physical
    template from which these special files are created. Each
    program has the information necessary to create a new file
    of the necessary type.

    For example, if the global template (Normal.dot) does not
    exist in Microsoft Word with which to create a blank
    document, Word uses its internally stored settings
    to create a new blank document.</pre>


    This is interesting. It is potentially relevant to new users of the workstation, who may not have a normal.dot, but unhelpful for dealing with existing users.

    Q195007 "WD2000: Some Document Properties Are Populated Automatically" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ar...s/q195/0/07.asp) seems initially promising, purporting to supply information on how to change the Title, Author, and Company properties.

    Unfortunately, the first suggestion is to turn on Prompt for Document Properties from Tools|Options, Save tab. This is less than helpful advice - we do not want to gall users by continually flashing the old company name at them.

    The section in Q195007 specifically on changing the Company name field refers the reader to....

    Q244086 "WD2000: How to Change the Company Property Information" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ar...s/Q244/0/86.ASP)

    This document tells us how to go to File|Properties and click the Summary tab - not earthshattering. It also reveals that

    <pre>NOTE: Changing the company property field in the
    Normal template and saving the change will not be reflected
    in new documents based on Normal.</pre>

    <pre>For additional information about how to permanently change
    the company property in all user-defined templates and the
    Normal template, click the article number below to view the
    article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:</pre>


    ...which leads us to...

    Q211793 "WD2000: How to Reset User Options and Registry Settings" (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/ar...s/q211/7/93.asp)

    7/8ths of the way through the document there is a table, indicating the storage location for particular Word settings. It states that Company Name is stored...in Winword.exe.

    There is no information in Q211793 on how to change this value (or, in fact, any other mentions of the Company property) despite the claims of Q244086.

    Things are looking grim. A binary search of Winword.exe has not turned up any ASCII or Unicode patterns that look relevant.

    Has anybody else run into this? Am I out of luck? Do I have to write an automatically executed macro to change the Company property when a new document is created? Ick.

    Any advice will be gratefully received.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
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    Re: Word 'Company' property - changing the default?

    [img]/w3timages/icons/oink.gif[/img] Hooly Dooly Paul, you have been doing your homework [img]/w3timages/icons/clever.gif[/img]

    I was under the impression that you needed to reinstall Office to update the Company info. Maybe you could do a fresh install on a new machine and put a generic user name with the new company name in and then overwrite each winword.exe file. Or delete the winword.exe itself and then reinstall it.

    It sure is a whole lot more trouble than it should be.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
    pls
    Guest

    Re: Word 'Company' property - changing the default?

    Good suggestion! [img]/w3timages/icons/cool.gif[/img]

    Replacing WINWORD.EXE should be pretty straightforward for Office 97 machines, as long as we keep the SR level of the installed version consistent.

    O2K uses the Microsoft Installer, though, and I expect it will dislike the differing checksum of the new executable. MSI has a way to construct patches to an installation, which should get around that problem.

    [img]/w3timages/icons/shocked.gif[/img] Hm, I could try a binary diff on two .EXEs...time for more testing....

    I admit that this sort of unnecessary idocy makes me want to educate certain Microsoft project managers with the business end of a haddock.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  4. #4
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    Re: Word 'Company' property - changing the default?

    Hi Paul:
    I'm not sure of this but I didn't see you try this key. Try this. To correct the problem, see if changing the value in

    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMICROSOFTMS SETUP (ACME)

    helps. I think, but again haven't tried this, that local machine will mirror this. I can see by the amount of research you've put in that you know to back up your registry.

  5. #5
    pls
    Guest

    Re: Word 'Company' property - changing the default?

    [img]/w3timages/icons/clever.gif[/img]Good thought, but I've tried it, alas. It looked promising, but it seems to affect only the information that is prepopulated to the registration information dialog when you install a new application (or at least some new applications - my monthly TechNet update picked it up).

    I do most of this sort of research on test machines, so I typically do not bother with backups, particularly if I am editing fairly transparent REG_SZ and REG_DWORD settings. In three or four years of poking I've yet to experience unexpected corruption. The writing of numerous script files to update registry settings has given me a rather jaundiced attitude, I'm afraid.

    My best implosion was when I tried to edit the icon resources on a Window NT system DLL - the box blue-screened, would not boot, and continued to fail to boot even after my carefully preserved original copy had been restored using NTFSDOS. TANJ. Another test machine, fortunately.

    Thanks,
    Paul

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