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    IncludeText and or summarizing document (2003)

    I have a collection of documents (36) which are tables. I have been asked to create a document which summarizes key points from all the documents -- this will also be a tabular format. I am considering using INCLUDETEXT (formerly "include") fields in the summarizing document. My plan is to create bookmarks in all 36 documents, and use the includetext to make up the new document. Anyone with advice about this plan -- gotchas, bugs, easier alternatives, etc. please let me know.

    The people who update the 36 documents have little knowledge of Word -- I will have to advise them about updating or deleting bookmarks, so I was considering making a macro to define the bookmarks (approx 10 in each document). I should probably make a separate toolbar or menu in a template and attach it to all 36 documents and throw the macro onto the menu, right? Should the summarizing document also be attached to this template?

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    Re: IncludeText and or summarizing document (2003)

    I'm not sure there's a better solution, but I can think of some problems (you've mentioned some).
    1. As you've noted, Word's bookmarks are fragile & easily deleted. Also, as material is updated, it's easy to include material that shouldn't be included in the summary.

    2. Includetext fields are not updated immediately, as are Paste Special/Paste Link objects. That means that you must make sure that there's a way to update the Includetext field (F9). This is likely to be a problem only if the summary document & source document are open at the same time. However, even using the Paste Special method (which creates bookmarks), you have the problem of bookmarks being deleted or changed.

    3. A separate issue is whether there really is a good summary that exists in each of the 36 documents. I don't know how feasible it is, but you might consider putting the summary into separate sections in the source document & protecting those sections for forms. Then have them submit the changes to the summary portion of the document only, to one person who if familiar with Word. That person could unprotect each of the documents & paste in the changes, taking care not to delete the bookmarks.

    4. As the versions of Word have become newer, the table options have become more numerous & the documents more complex. Depending upon the length of these documents & the size of the tables, you may find these documents corrupting. In general, it is better to have several shorter tables in a document than one long table. You might be able to "fix" some corruption by converting a table to text & back to a table again. You might want to have a macro for that.

    If you do decide to use macros to recreate the bookmarks, I would not use a menu. I would use a toolbar & keep it in an attached template. You could use a dropdown toolbar, which simulates a menu, if you wish. The reason for this is that you can copy toolbars between templates (& so revise them more easily), but you can't copy menus. I would have both the summarizing document & the source documents all attached to the same template. Take care not to have Tools/Templates & add-ins/Automatically update document styles checked. I would also make sure that the styles in the attached template reflect the styles you want in all the documents. Otherwise, one of the editors may copy styles from the attached template & end up changing the formats.
    Hope this helps,

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    Re: IncludeText and or summarizing document (2003)

    Thanks Phil, I had not realized that includetext fields are not auto-updated, I just presumed that I had set an option to manual update. In experimenting yesterday, I did indeed corrupt tables several times, which doesn't bode well. Your suggestion of an uncorrupt macro is timely and definitely will go into the final project. Alas, my thought to set the bookmark as the entire cell resulted in nested tables in the summary document.

    I will definitely have to include some kind of warning dialog box about the bookmarks and educate the editors about this -- I have set the bookmarks to be visible, which gives two anemic grey lines indicating the start and end of each bookmark. (Thanks to my trusty Word 2000 Developer's Handbook) Testing also revealed that the fields should have absolute file names, otherwise my editors will get error messages that I don't.

    Again, thanks for your thoughts. It has helped me articulate what I want in the final piece, so I can post more specific questions to the boards as it develops. On Monday, this was all so undefined -- now I have some action steps.

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    Re: IncludeText and or summarizing document (2003)

    Just an additional thought. Setting bookmarks to visible has a downside, too. First, it's a registry setting, not a document setting, so users can turn it off. Secondly, if you prevent users from turning it off, you could be interfering with their preferences for other documents, so there's a problem either way.

    I once used an AutoOpen & AutoClose macro to show the Forms toolbar when I opened or closed a document based on my Forms template. However, if I opened more than one form & then closed one, my Forms toolbar closed. If you decide to use a similar route, you'll need to check the state of the View.ShowBookmarks before setting that option & then returning the user to that option when your document is closed. You'll also need to check to see if there are other source documents open when the first is closed.

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