Re: Single-sourcing, sort of

Subject: Re: Single-sourcing, sort of
From: Doc <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 10:39:18 -0400

On Sat, 20 Jul 2002 00:25:51 -0500, Beth Friedman <bjf -at- wavefront -dot- com>

>Can you think of any way to type the number in the response document and
>have it expand to the answer the number corresponds to? The obvious
>solution would be autotext, but that's static, and the numbers change as
>new answers get interpolated in.
>Any solution can be labor-intensive on a one-time basis, but in the long
>run has to be less work than just copying and pasting from one document to
>another. Again, this is Word.

Dick's answer is a good approach.

Here's another that might be a little simpler and less dependent on

You say that the numbering system changes as new answers are
interpolated. It's not clear whether this numbering actually appears
in the document. If it does not, a simple fix is to redo the system to
allow interpolations without requiring renumbering.

A simple example is the old line numbering system in BASIC:
10 Print "Hey!!!"
20 Input "Who is that playing with my keyboard?";N$
30 Print "Oh it is you " ";N$;"
40 Print "Touch me again. I like it!"

By jumping the numbering by 10s, you can add lines into the sequence
without renumbering.

If this is feasible for your system, it would help by making you
numbering system more static.

The number of discrete answers will inform the size of the numbers you
use. These numbers can also help you track down answers more quickly.

For example:
Assign the number range of 20000 to 29999 to questions on flanges.
20000 to 21999 - questions on pricing.
22000 to 23999 - on manufacturing materials
The idea is to narrow the categories, but leave plenty of numbers
between those assigned to answers to allow for interpolation.
This consistency will make retrieval much easier.

If the numbers do appear in the document then I would recommend that
you separate the catalog numbers from the answer numbers. Even typing
in new para numbers for a document will be less hassle.

You can use a spreadsheet or database to track the numbers.

Now for the mildly tricky stuff.

I suggest that you create each answer as a separate document. The name
of each document file is the catalog number.

Then create a master document containing all the answers by reference.
This will give you a visual cross-check of the content.

Then create a master document containing all the boilerplate that will
always be included and save it as a template.

Each time you create a new document, you open the template and enter
the sub docs in the order they should appear.

This is a somewhat generic method and will need to be tweaked to work
with your particular situation.

Feel free to contact me off list if you have specific questions.

South Hamilton, MA

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