Document variables in a Word Document

Subject: Document variables in a Word Document
From: "David Hickey" <david -dot- hickey -at- cgi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 11:13:20 -0500


I'm back! Some of you may remember me as the pretigious winner fo the
Michael Wing Award for most Inane Thread (check the archives). It's been
a few years, but I've decided to give techwr-l another go.

So in classic style, here's my first question:

I'm working on a project for the proposal department that cobbles
multiple independent Word documents (Word 2000) together into one giant
proposal. The user selects which docs they want to use using a website,
and when they click submit, the site pulls all the selected Word docs
together into a Proposal in a Box format (then the user can customize
the document later, cutting out the sections he doesn't want).

My job in this project is to standardize some 300 business cases written
by 30 different writers (with varying levels of writing skill) so that
it looks all generic.

They want to be able to add a certain amount of document customization
when it comes to the name of the client they are preparing the proposal
for. For example, if they are preparing a propoals for Hungarian Widget
Inc., then they'd want to see that company name to appear in certain
places in the document.

My original idea was to mark a first instance of Hungarian Widget Inc.
with a character style and then use a StyleRef field to call up that
text everywhere else. The problem is that I can't be certain a user
might not delete the page where that first instance would come up (the
introductary letter).

That's the context (as long-winded as ever), so here's the question:

Is there a way I can have the user define certain variables that would
populate fields in all the documents once they've been put together.
I've been toying with building a dialog box in Visual Basic that would
ask the user to define these variable, but I can't figure out 1) how to
get this dialog box to appear and 2) how to associate the values in the
dialog box with the fields in the document.

Should I explore this Visual Basic option some more, or is there another
way to go?

In passing, salutations to John Posada, Andrew Plato, and the Rays! Glad
to see you all are still kicking around.
John David Hickey
Mtl_techwriter Moderator

Documentia Inc.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada eh?

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