Agree with you completely on that point Dora.
e: <mailto:Carl.Sarelius@xxxxxxxxx> Carl.Sarelius@xxxxxxxxx
m: +61 (0)488 666 101
[mailto:austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Dora Evans
Sent: Monday, 9 October 2017 9:17 AM
Subject: atw: Re: Authors using DOTM files instead of DOCX files (cross
posted to Word-PC)
I don't have any experience in this area apart from being a long time Word
user. It sounds to me like somebody with some technical skills thought it
would be a good way to do it but they didn't have any great knowledge of
Word. In my experience, most Word users don't know the difference between a
template and a document, and many wouldn't even know what a template was.
[mailto:austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Suzy Davis
Sent: Sunday, 8 October 2017 9:41 AM
To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: atw: Authors using DOTM files instead of DOCX files (cross posted
(apologies - long post)
The question: How common is the practice of large author teams to use the
template file, DOTM to create their documents - some of which are 800 pages
I've just deployed a new template brand refresh to a little over 22,000
authors in a global engineering and consulting company.
As corporations often do, they thought bringing the template builder in
literally 4 weeks before the brand launch would be enough time. And they
wanted a macro refresh as well!
An interesting month that I survived, and delivered on time (although we had
to cut a few corners); but there wasn't any time for document analysis; or
the analysis of the way people need to work.
They accepted that I just needed to do the job in the way I could do it and
achieve the deadline.
One of the main things I saw when I arrived was that authors were using DOTM
files in documents, with an embedded custom Ribbon. I was notified that
these documents error when the documents are sent to customers or external
collaborators when the macros are taken out (many mail servers won't accept
DOCM OR DOTM files). This means that the resulting DOCX with the Ribbon XML
still embedded (as an author won't know how to take it out) will error when
that document is opened. They've just learn to live and accept that.
The documents are deployed via SharePoint.
I don't know much about SharePoint. When people open the DOTM in SharePoint
it opens the DOTM file on their PC and they happily continue working in it.
Even when they save as, they don't notice that it's a DOTM file; and if they
did and saved it as a DOCX, they would lose macros etc.
I took one look at that and said I'll move you towards a Microsoft Best
Practice approach - which was to add a macro into the DOTM file, that when
saved to the PC, will save it to a template location, and force the start of
a new document, and load the ribbon from an external addin. This forces
people to work in the DOCX files not the DOTM files.
The new Ribbon (with macros) is loaded as a global addin (currently via a
SharePoint download and self install), and their new documents are all
attached to a template in a common location (not under the user profile -
yet) which holds the macros and building blocks.
I'd like to move them to a Word\Startup global addin location, and a
template deployment where IT push the templates out rather than people
needing to open from SharePoint (at least for the base corporate templates)
- but that will likely take a year of discussion with IT.
Is this a common practice - working in the DOTM??
First time I've encountered it, and I was shocked that someone would
consider that as an option, and can only imagine that they did so while
fairly inexperienced and needing to appease a demanding corporate
stakeholder under a tight timeframe.
In companies deploying templates via Intranets or SharePoint I've more
commonly seen DOCX files deployed as templates.
Because of the way they've been working they are used to the Ribbon only
being present when they have the document (DOTM) open, and otherwise it's
With my method there is some confusion because people are expecting the
Ribbon to work no matter what document is open - but Ribbons only work in
when the building blocks, or styles are present in the current document.
To me it's the same as trying to use your Bank app on your phone when the
phone is out of range. You get a message that that button won't work in
this document, and move on.
From my point of view this is a maintenance nightmare. If they need new
building blocks or macros, or ribbon alternations we just update the
templates, or the ribbon file, and tell people to download the updated
template or ribbon.
They would have no way to deploy these updates, except by telling people to
copy their document into the new template. Just what someone needs in an
800 page document on a time crunch. Seems bizarre to me, but maybe I've
been working the way I've been working (and avoiding corporates) for too
Would love to hear your thoughts.
Kind regards Suzy
Microsoft Word Templates
APPS for MICROSOFT OFFICE
& Documentation Projects
PO Box 404
Brighton VIC 3186
Email <mailto:suzy.davis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> suzy.davis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx