From Word 2K to 2003 Part 1–Looking up the Mountain

[Editor’s note: This week marks the first installment in a series of reports by Word expert Steve Hudson on Word 2003–installation, features, and much, much more. If you’re thinking of upgrading, you won’t want to miss it. Next week, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled feature articles and include the rest of Steve’s installments in his own column as they become available. Many thanks to Steve for making them available!]

I’ve got a stack of research to do on using all these new Word objects (that’s “features,” for those who don’t understand VBA-speak) that have started appearing so we’ve all got some idea of what’s there. So I organised a free copy of Office 2003 to review. When I say free, I do NOT mean pirated–being a Word guru occasionally has a few tiny advantages.

I thought I could knock this article over in a few days. Fortunately for us, unfortunately for the article, there is a lot of new stuff available. So this is going to be a multi-part series for a little while to come. These articles do NOT go into using the new features all that much; it is more meant to give an overview of the changes to expect and help prepare you for the different ways you can work, or not, in Word 2003.

Installation

Before you can play, you have to build the ballpark. So we spent hours installing the suite of Office products I use or require. The much-anticipated “perfect install” was far from that.

First problem was it does not upgrade Outlook 2000, nor allow its dual existence with Outlook 2003. We stupidly believed the dialog and thought it would be OK to continue with the other stuff–but the install went belly up fairly quickly. Shutdown restart just to be sure to be sure. Back up Outlook PST’s just in case of splat or regression. Removed Outlook and reran the install of the Office core components–Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, PowerPoint, InfoPath and Publisher all come bundled in tightly together. This worked OK.

To be specific, we only asked to keep the old Word 2000 and delete the rest of the old components.

Components

Visio, OneNote and FrontPage all came separately. The new 2003 Outlook features are pretty good, but it’s a bit cluttered and reduces the number of messages on screen at once so you have to scroll around more to find stuff. The blurb annoyingly refers to this in the opposite, “Less scrolling with our new Bulldust!” Installing the patches took a fair while–there are quite a few already. Everything worked as planned, and the Office Update site provided the last, only four days old, patch. Started up the different products–you only have to load one from the core set, not each one–and their online activation with the supplied serials worked like a treat–quick, automatic and seamless.

OneNote is quite cool, a post-it note manager with some extra cool features–it is way more than Outlook’s notes. I am sure it will creep into the workflow for many users, being more than a clipboard but less than a Word document. But that’s enough about Office–these articles are about Word!

Plug-ins

I found a few add-ins available on the Office site already for Word 2003–a remove metadata tool–don’t know how far this goes, but it does address some common, difficult metadata problems–and a smart tag add-in for dates and phone numbers.

Duelling versions–but both die at once

The dual running of Word 2000 and 2003 is already painful–the office installer almost re-installs each one when you open a new session. Spell “wait state” for me please. However, do note that I AM currently running both versions at the same time even, with NO problems or conflicts. A huge step forward. As I tend to load up a Word session for many hours, I can live with that. Also, if you don’t load the other version in between sessions, the ‘re-install’ doesn’t trigger. WHEW!

The only down side I discovered is cascading failure. Crash one Word session, the other comes tumbling down as well. This could be limited to the type of crash, can’t tell as yet. It was incredibly satisfying seeing each error report actually loading with Microsoft rather than the quick “OK, we already know about this one” response. Yet again, I manage to stuff things up in new and amazing ways–the power of the guru!

Copyright ? 2004 by Steve Hudson. All rights reserved.

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READERS WRITE

Melissa L. Bogen wrote:

For one client, I have to insert coded text at the top of each file. I want to write a macro (or find some other fast way) to add this big chunk of text. Up until now I have been copying and pasting the chunk of text from an old manuscript and updating it for the ms being edited. I think automating this step will speed things up. I’d like to write a macro that will go to the top of a file and insert the copy. Then using your MultiMacro program, I can run that macro along with some other macros I’ve written.

I’m a tad rusty on recording macros. I tried to write a macro that searched for a character string (this client always inserts the same character string at the top of every file) and replaced it with the desired basic chunk of text. However, I crashed Word twice now. Maybe MS Word doesn’t like that the “insert what” field in my search and replace that I tried to run while recording the macro had a lot of “^p” for hard returns. (The chunk of text includes about 8 lines of text.)

Can you point me to a place where I can find a solution to adding a chunk of text to the top of every file?

I responded:

The number of times you use ^p shouldn’t matter. The ^p code should work fine.

Are you really writing the macro, or just recording it? If you’re just recording it, you should be able to:

1. Go to start of document (CTRL + HOME). 2. Replace [character string] with [your chunk of text] (CTRL + H).

And then run the macro.

But that reminds me: The longest chunk of text you can have in the Replace With box is 255 characters. So if your chunk of text is longer than that, that could be the problem.

The sneaky way around this is to:

1. Select and copy the chunk of text to the Clipboard. 2. Find [character string]. 3. Replace with ^c (which is the magic code for “whatever is on the Clipboard.”

Melissa replied:

Yup, the chunk of text is long. I tried your sneaky way around it (recorded that as a macro) and it worked great. So now I have a macro, but there needs to be something on the clipboard for it to work. Thus I also saved the chunk of text as AutoText, using Brad Hurley’s instructions you provided in this week’s newsletter. Now I can insert the AutoText into one document, highlight the inserted boilerplate and hit Ctrl + c to add the boilerplate to the clipboard, then run the macro with a bunch of others using your MultiMacro. All the files in a folder have the text inserted.

Many thanks to Melissa for her questions and tips.

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RESOURCES

Want to see Microsoft’s overview of Word 2003? You’ll find the official party line here:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/word/prodinfo/default.mspx

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