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Working with Microsoft Word

Word is the default document editing tool for the majority of the world’s users. No one can know how long it will dominate for. As of 2017, there are thousands of possible alternatives but none with even a fraction of the market share.

PageSeeder has always focused on the enterprise market, where Word is at its strongest. Years of helping users to migrate Word into PageSeeder has generated a deep well of Word experience and also realistic expectations of where Word documents can be processed and where processing is futile.

This document is designed to explain how PageSeeder can seriously improve productivity of users and the quality of Word documents. 

Patterns for Importing

Issues to consider

Microsoft Word is a powerful publishing tool that provides flexibility and performance. As with many things, the characteristics that usually make Word invaluable can be the same characteristics that make it frustrating. Often, these can be traced to the following issues.

Lack of consistency

The PageSeeder import will always be constrained by the consistency of markup in the source documents. By “markup”, we really mean “use of styles”, but even if a document has been formatted using typefaces, indents and tab settings (to name a few of the many options), if done consistently, those instructions can be quickly turned into styles.

Do you want to continue editing in Word?

There are legitimate use cases for users to import Word documents into PageSeeder, edit and generate a new document, circulate it for editing, and then re-import the file to PageSeeder. To a degree, there is support for this workflow, and it is in use with some PageSeeder sites. However, and you would expect us to say this, everything is simpler if the entire workflow moves to PageSeeder.

This method of naming component documents is good for use cases such as the following:

  • After being imported, the Word file continues to be updated.
  • The number of component documents spawned upon import continues to vary.
  • The value being used to generate the title is stable.

A suitable example of this could be a controlled vocabulary such as a glossary or ontology. With collections like these, each term is typically stored as a document.

In this circumstance, an author might choose to continue adding and updating terms in Word. At the same time, reviewers might be using PageSeeder to comment on existing terms. Leveraging the title of the document makes it possible to preserve both the edits and the comments. The title ensures that the correct document is overwritten, therefore any changes are tracked. It also ensures that where the comments are attached, it continues to be the same semantic term rather than a new term in the position of the previous terms.

When uploading a new version of the Word file, it’s important that it is ready to upload, 

Where the content might be maintained external to PageSeeder

should be used to generate files that are planned to be overwritten, or altered from a future import of a word document, for example, a list of definitions. This way ensures that the split files overwrite the same files, as long as its title has not changed.

Review, Update and Export

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