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Alternative to Word macros

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  • Alternative to Word macros

    In my workplace we have a large number of MS Word templates which contain a lot of VBA macros. When I say a lot - I mean several hundred of lines of code for each template.

    The problem we have is that we deal with 3 versions of Word ... 2003 for our old stuff, 2007 which is what we use in house at the moment, and 2010 which is being used by some of our external partners.

    Once a document has been through a few different versions of Word, and edited on PCs which don't have access to the templates, and then brought back into the organisation, the macros (which are, to be honest, not too badly written) start to mess up.

    My personal opinion is that programming at the level these macros operate at doesn't really belong in a word doc - the level of automation that's been attempted is too ambitious for a document which is going to 'travel' extensively during it's lifetime. Add to that the horrendous mess we get whenever a template is changed and I really want to find something else.

    Given that our external partners have no need for the macros, if I can find an alternative which permits us the same functionality, which isn't 'embedded' in Word (if you'll permit the analogy) I'd love to try it out.

    The macros provide for a lot of formatting, automatic insertion of details in various places (things like author(s) name, report number, etc), inserting images, linking to Tables of Contents - that sort of thing.

    Has anyone any suggestions for an alternative?

  • #2
    Re: Alternative to Word macros

    2007 and 2010 use an XML file format, so external programming is an option, but for 2003 the only possibility would be some keystroke recorder, probably not flexible enough.

    To avoid embedding macros in every word document, have a "shell" document which contains the macros and works on a target document which does not
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **


    • #3
      Re: Alternative to Word macros

      Originally posted by Ossian View Post
      To avoid embedding macros in every word document, have a "shell" document which contains the macros and works on a target document which does not
      That was the first thing I checked: Unfortunately that's what we have now. The macros are stored in the templates, which are located on a network drive. I've verified that the macros remain there (and not in the document itself) but disconnecting the network drive and opening the document: No macros in evidence.

      I agree a keystroke/mouse recorder is not the way to go ... but given that Word automation is getting more common, I'm hoping that there must be something out there.


      • #4
        Re: Alternative to Word macros

        Its abit of a work around, but if you have a document that moves from site to site, could you now replace it with a databsae driven website?

        Convert all the forums into pages that you put the info in, and it spits out the completed forum. Its a ton of work to convert a document into a webform, but in some cases its more then worth it (you have 2-3 forums tht you use for everything in hundards of locations).

        It does not help you know, but if you get the forums to work in a office 2010 setup, you could look at having Word offered as SaaS. This would remove the muiltiply versions of Office from the eqution.

        If in asking for more details about a problem I seem to be rude, think about it this way, If I did not have to ask, I would not of been forced to be rude.

        Please assume anything and everything I say to be wrong unless I have provided links and evidence, or you have done the same.
        IE: you blow your server up following my advice, not my bad

        A OP is bad if I can go to and answer the question by pressing 4 buttons. "Ctrl +c, Ctrl +v".