Query: Using Word's Hidden Text as a conditional text hack

Subject: Query: Using Word's Hidden Text as a conditional text hack
From: RJACOBSE -at- GPS -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 10:10:32 -0500

I'm cross-posting this to WINHLP-L and TECHWR-L
because both groups may have some insights and
possibly experience in this.

We're using MS Word and dealing with a large doc set (printed and online)
that spans three product lines, complicated by a severly
stretched writing team (isn't that a unique situation <frown>).
The three product lines share many common features and
the basic interface is the same. We're able to use some
of the docs for all three products as is, however, some
portions of the docs need to be customized to varying
degrees for each product.

My idea is to use a single doc source for all product lines,
incorporating ALL information EVERYWHERE, and to use
templates and styles that would show each audience only
the pertinent information: Product A would have Template A,
and in Template A, any text referring to Product B features
would have a Product B style and would be hidden text.
When creating a Product B document, we would attach
the master file to the Product B template, revealing the B
styles and hiding the A styles.

I can already see that making sure any jump coding in
WinHelp source files will need to be treated with kid
gloves so switching from one template to another doesn't
booger things up. I think I can work around that. Printed doc
files should be a bit simpler (I think).

My question is: has anyone used a similar scheme to hack
a pseudo-conditional text feature in MS Word? Any successes
or failures? Have I been drinking too much coffee?

Roy Jacobsen
Senior Technical Writer
Great Plains Software
rjacobse -at- gps -dot- com
"Nature is wise, crafty and elegant, as well as cynical and
malevolent." -- Dr. Science

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