RE: Wrestling with MS Templates and Styles

Subject: RE: Wrestling with MS Templates and Styles
From: Samuel -dot- Beard -at- tdcj -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2003 11:04:30 -0500

Hey Steve,

Sam Beard replied to Jerry on the issue of MS Word templates & styles:

>From what I recall learning the hard way, you can only do minimal changes
to the standard template that Word uses. If the template resides on an
individual PC, then the Word uses that and any changes to it would have to
be made to EVERY PC in the company that would be producing documents in
order to ensure that every uses that template.>

<Steve's response:>
Sam, are you SURE about that? - we have standard templates, and once a
template is 'associated' with a file (thru the Templates & Add-ins
function), it inherits all the standard styles ... they're available for
in the doc. As an extra measure, when I get one of the docs to edit, I
ALWAYS check that the standard template is applies, and (also important),
use the 'Organizer' button to DELETE the conflicting styles. That's not to
say, however, that Word doesn't get squirrelly, and (somehow?) lose the
style(s) or revert a style (or many) to the Word standard stuff. Is there
something I'm doing wrong (or NOT doing)?

<My response:>
Yes, once a template and its styles are associated with a file, then
they travel with the file. However, what I was referring to is when you
need to create a NEW file. If the template that you want to use to base
that new file on isn't on the local PC or correctly stored on the server,
then Word will default to the standard template, particularly if you only
click on the New Document button on the Tool bar.
As for doing something wrong or not doing something, not that I'm aware
of from what you've said. Deleting conflicting styles and unused ones only
makes sense to me.

Sam continued:
>... Also, I've found it best to simply come up different names for the
styles instead of trying to modify Word's existing styles. For example,
instead of using the Normal style, I use Body Text. For headings, I use
something like 1Heading instead of Heading 1. Still pretty clear what the
style should be used for, but it gets around the problem of trying to
Word's standard style.<

<Steve's response:>
I don't believe Word will LET you change the default template names.

<My response:>
That's correct: Word will not allow you to change or delete certain
styles. However, I was talking about creating a new style with that name
and including that in the template instead of the standard Word style.
Similar name, similar purpose, but set up EXACTLY the way you want instead
of trying to live with or modify what MS THINKS you want or need.

Sam concluded:
>Also, the only way, that I'm aware of, to get Word to let you choose a
template when creating a new document is to use File > New instead of
clicking on the New File button on the Tool bar. Word automatically assumes
you want the standard template if you use the Tool bar button. There also
tends to be an issue with using the Automatically Update checkbox on the
Style dialog box, but I don't recall off-hand what that is.<

<Steve's response:>
Since we're a RUP shop, we have created an entire set of standard templates
for all software lifecycle deliverable docs, and have them posted on our
dept webpage. There, the developers/authors go to get the proper template
for the artifact they need to produce. It's good idea (IMO) to also set
Automatically Update checkbox (in Templates & Add-ins), so that
'non-standard' styles will be updated. But be careful, once this is done
you have deleted unwanted styles, I believe Word changes those (formerly
used, now 'missing') to the default Normal.

<My response:>
Yep, I believe that you're right about Word changing them in that case.
And yes, that would be the thing to do for a server-based situation like
that, IMO. As I said, be a bit cautious about the Automatically Update
checkbox, though. IIRC, there is SOME SORT of issue with using it. I don't
recall exactly what, but I DO know that it gave me fits before on something
I was working on. Styles kept changing and such and I was told it had
something to do with the Automatically Update option. Mayhaps something
like Woody's Office Watch has something on it in their archives.


Samuel I. Beard, Jr.
Technical Writer, Human Resources
Texas Department of Criminal Justice


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