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Tips for Authoring Templates – Part 2

One thing that you need when authoring, and especially testing, a template is an easy way to make sure that the fillpoints that you have coded into the template are completed correctly.  This is fine if the template is fairly short.  But when you have a long template (and that’s generally what you need a tool like XpressDox for – long documents) then reading through the entire merged document is necessary at least once, but can mean that important fillpoint information is easily missed.

There is an easy way to (temporarily) highlight all text that is inserted via fillpoints.  This makes use of the fact the the content of a fillpoint will take the font (including type face, colour, style (i.e. bold/italic/underline), etc.) from the font which governs the opening “<” character of the fillpoint.

So, using the standard  Microsoft® Word Find and Replace, you can tell Word to find all “«” and replace them with “«” but with, say, colour Dark Red included in the Replace.

Then run the template, capture some nice data in the interview and have a look at the result – all the text which was inserted by the fillpoints will be in Dark Red.

Once you are happy with the template and the document merged from it, you can do another Find and Replace and remove the Dark Red (probably replacing the Dark Red colour with the colour that Word calls Automatic), and now it’s ready for production.