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  1. #1
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    Redlining long docs for the little guy (Word 2000-??)

    I have a lawyer client who needs to redline some long contracts (50-60 pages each). He's running Word 2000 on Windows 2000.

    When we compare the two versions of the contract using Word 2000's compare feature, the redline works fine for the first 5-6 pages, but then it stumbles and marks up the entire rest of the document when it shouldn't.

    At first I thought the document was corrupted, but after running a number of tests (including converting it to a DOS text-only file to eliminate the possibility of some kind of formatting problem) I've concluded that Word's compare feature just can't handle a redline of that length.

    Subsequently, I downloaded a demo copy of Workshare's Delta View, which handled the entire redline of the orginal docs with formatting just fine (although it did hang my system on more than one occasion), only to discover that the entry price point for Delta View is $3,400 for 20 users!

    (See http://www.fairfaxdatasystems.com/Solution...Comparison.htm)

    Meanwhile, CompareRite was retired in February of 2002, and is no longer available for sale.

    This client is a solo practitioner who can't spring $3,400 just to do redlining.

    Has the compare function improved in subsequent versions of Word? Would Word 2003 be likely handle it any better than Word 2000?

    Are there any alternatives?

    Thanks
    David

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Redlining long docs for the little guy (Word 2000-??)

    Softinterface, Inc. offers a variety of document comparison products. I have not had the opportunity to test them out myself. I think you can pick up a single-user license for $400, and there are discounts for multiple users.

  3. #3
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    Re: Redlining long docs for the little guy (Word 2000-??)

    I've addressed this issue in another post <!post=Re: Document compare is wrong on large docs (Word 2000/SR1),291064>Re: Document compare is wrong on large docs (Word 2000/SR1)<!/post> . The bottom line is that users are hitting "enter, enter" to put spacing between paragraphs. For WHATEVER reason the empty paragraph mark causes the problem you are describing. All the more reason to encourage clients to use Styles. Eliminating the empty paragraph marks by using a macro and then applying styles solves the problem.

    My clients use templates with custom styles and a set of "clean-up" steps for documents from outside sources. It has been working great for them. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Re: Redlining long docs for the little guy (Word 2000-??)

    Hi Kris,

    Your theory sounded intriguing, so I double-checked the problem documents, and the paragraphs where the redline first falls apart are, in fact, constructed correctly, using single paragraph returns.

    Just to be sure, I did a search-and-replace to make sure that all multiple returns were replaced with single returns throughout the document. And to be extra-sure, I tried the same thing with DOS text file versions of the documents.

    None of those techniques solved the problem--the Word redline still falls apart in exactly the same place, while Workshare DeltaView produces a correct redline in each case.

    Could there be some other variable besides multiple paragraph returns?

    d

  5. #5
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    Re: Redlining long docs for the little guy (Word 2000-??)

    We, too, are struggling with this issue in long documents.

    One trigger seems to be moving a paragraph, which throws off the synching of the whole comparison so that the rest of the document is shown as deleted and inserted. One workaround is to break the documents into smaller pieces and compare them against each other but this (1) is painfully labor-intensive for a long doc and (2) increases the chance of error when you try to reassemble the docment.

    Anyone who has a solution for this in Word without having to resort to outside apps deserves full-fledged hero status.

    Rob

  6. #6
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    Re: Redlining long docs for the little guy (Word 2000-??)

    The trigger you mentioned (i.e., moving a paragraph) was very similar, though not identical, in our case. The redline started to blow up where the attorney had moved a phrase, intact, from one paragraph to an adjacent paragraph. It was a real estate sales/purchase contract, and paragraph "h" listed what the buyer would pay for, followed immediately by paragraph "i" that listed what the seller would pay for. In the subsequent negotiations, the parties to the contract decided that the buyer should pay for something previously assigned to the seller, and that item (a phrase) was moved from paragraph "i" to paragraph "h."

    In that particular paragraph, I was able to correct the problem by rewording the moved phrase slightly, which seemed to confuse Word less. However, the same problem you have described, of the redline showing everything as deleted and then reinserted, reappeared almost immediately in the same document (perhaps the next page), which does suggest that the length of the text being redlined plays a very important role.

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