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  1. #1
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    RTF Losses as a feature (2000 sp3)

    I distribute a locked form document to be filled in by the user and faxed back. I would like to see if the user unlocked the document and made any changes to the text. The easiest way to unlock a document is to convert it to rtf format (password deleted) and then back. Is there some visible feature that is lost in such a conversion? Like the diagonal in a table cell or a highlight (both were preserved in my tests).

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: RTF Losses as a feature (2000 sp3)

    Macros will be deleted by that process. Possibly ActiveX controls in the document body. Maybe Smart Tags??

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    Re: RTF Losses as a feature (2000 sp3)

    Are nested tables supported in RTF? What about watermarks and/or Word Art? You would need to look through the specifications of RTF to work out a visible feature that would be lost by going to RTF.

    You would also want it to behave correctly if the remote user opened it in other (older or different OS) versions of Word. There is a lot of variables there to deal with. Even an innocent user who happens to have Word 95 might appear guilty as the standard conversion involves RTF.

    One method that springs to mind is if you saved all the non-editable text as a graphic then the user would have a lot of difficulty in erasing and rewording the protected clauses.

    Another possibility is to use Acrobat to create the form and apply security there to control what they can and can't do.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Re: RTF Losses as a feature (2000 sp3)

    Thank you for your suggestions. One problem seems to be that RTF, itself, is improving and tries to keep pace with Word features. So, nested tables, for example, look fine in RTF but (as you warned) will not appear at all for a 95 user. Using a graphic, like Word Art or a picture of the text would probably work, but may radically increase the size of the file. It would be my last resort. Acrobat has great security (if you fit one of their models) but I have a lot of macros in the documents and hesitate to learn Java and rewrite them all for Acrobat.

    Sorry that I am so fussy.
    Thanks for your help
    Gabe Fineman, Washington, DC.

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    Re: RTF Losses as a feature (2000 sp3)

    Anything you provide with macros is likely to be disabled as most users have never taken the macro security protection off the high setting that is the default.

    However if you think it likely that the users will have enabled the macros then you can highjack the print macros so that you add some text to the page at printing time. This way you would know who has disabled macros or converted the file the rtf and these forms could be checked carefully for wording changes - perhaps with a compare documents function built into a macro if you wanted to automate it. The others could be assumed to not have been tampered with if you have password protection on the form.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    Re: RTF Losses as a feature (2000 sp3)

    Thank you for your suggestions. Yes, the macros will be lost. If they were still there, I could control the printing. Active-x controls seem to also work in rtf - at least those I tried. Smart tags do not seem to display anything that prints that is not converted. I am frustrated

    Gabe Fineman
    Washington, DC

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