RE: Drag and Drop between templates

Subject: RE: Drag and Drop between templates
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 08:50:06 -0500

Frank Krasovic's company <<... uses Word 2000 for all our Internal Documents
(< 10 pages) and External Publications (> 150 pages)... When I arrived,
someone had created a template for our docs. It did not look good. The big
boss told me to improve the look - fast and cheap!>>

Just as a preface, this isn't a tools issue; it's a design issue. Don't
forget that a design is about more than esthetics in our field: it's also
about functionality. Make sure the template has poor usability before you
discard it out of hand; few manuals will ever win awards for "looking good",
though you can certainly improve the looks of a functional but dull
template.

<<We are still in the (Word) dark ages regarding Documentation Software - I
am converting to FrameMaker Q3, 2001.>>

Frame is a much more powerful and elegant tool than Word, but it's also more
expensive and complex to learn, and you can accomplish remarkable things in
Word too, despite its flaws. Before converting to new software, first decide
what problems you're trying to solve.

<<Until then, we must Drag & Drop text and graphics onto an "updated" Word
template that I created.>>

Not necessarily. Word 97 (and probably later versions) let you apply a new
template to a file quite simply: Open the Format menu, select Style Gallery,
and choose the name of the new template you want to apply. Any styles that
have identical names to those in the new template will reformat
automatically* to take on the characteristics of the new style definitions;
with styles that don't have matching names in the new template, you'll have
to manually apply new style names or learn how to do search and replace for
styles. That's not too hard; in the Find and Replace dialog box, click the
More button to display additional choices. With the text cursor in the
"Find" field, click the Format button to display a menu of formatting
options, and select Style. Select the style you want to find, then repeat
the process for the Replace field. Click "Replace all", and you're nearly
done. You'll still have to skim through the document to see what you (and
Word) have missed (e.g., fixing page breaks, column widths, etc.), but most
of the work will be done.

*Big, annoying exception: If you define an entire paragraph as (say) Body
Text, then manually format one sentence (e.g., by applying a style named
"Emphasized"), Word helpfully protects you by not applying the new style to
the entire paragraph. This is a feature, since you presumably had a good
reason for applying a "character" style (a style within a paragraph), but it
can be annoying because you'll have to manually apply the new style to make
it "take".

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at
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