Category Archives: Word

The Word Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane

Among the many reasons I love Word Styles, is how it makes the Navigation Pane more powerful and easier to use.

Where to Find Navigation View
Find Navigation Pane on the View Ribbon

Turn on the Navigation Pane by going to the View Tab, Show Group and checking the Navigation Pane check box.
Navigation Pane - no styles in use
Unformatted text on the page and in Navigation Pane

At this point, if your text is unformatted, the Navigation Pane will not look that useful. But, watch what happens when I add styles to the unformatted text.
Styled text appears in the Navigation Pane
Text Formatted with Styles appears both on the page and in the Navigation Page

Now the text appears in the Navigation Page in the same style hierarchy used in the document. Now I can use the Navigation Page to quickly move around the document by clicking on the text I want to jump to.
Collapsing and Expanding Text
Text can be collapsed and expanded

If there is a lot of text, it can be collapsed and expanded using the triangle buttons.
The Navigation Pane can be used for more than navigation, it can also be used to reorder/reorganize text in the document. For example, perhaps I wish to move the section on the “The Adventures of Pinocchio” after “Aladdin”. I can do this easily by clicking on that heading in the Navigation Pane and dragging it below the heading I want it to follow.
Document reording results.
Results of using the Navigation Pane to reorder my document

Not only is that heading moved but all the subtext beneath it is moved as well. Fast and easy document reorganization!

I offer Word template design services and training. Feel free to send me an email.
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One File to Many – MS Word

A few weeks ago the following request came to me: “I have also been told that there is a way to change and update several … in a bulk fashion, that would speed up the process when customizing many documents for a specific job.” Of course, I immediately started thinking about a process that would allow one to smoothly update a group of standard documents. For example; every time a new customer is being set up.

I reached for the INCLUDETEXT field in Word. In contrast to inserting a file (which takes the entire contents of a file), the INCLUDETEXT field allows you to specify text within a file, when that text has been identified by a bookmark.

The Plan

Set up a “CustomerInfo” source document. Then in my standard documents (target documents), I’d use the INCLUDETEXT field to link to the relevant pieces of information stored in the source document. Updating would be a breeze, simply change the information in the source and the next time the fields are updated in the target document all the correct information will appear. In this process, the Customer Information source document would:

  1. Always have the same file name
  2. Be stored in the same folder as the rest of the customer files. If this is not the case, then the field code in the target document will need to be adapted from my example.

The Source Document

Setting up the source document is pretty straightforward – I’d make a form detailing the information to be collected. However, bookmarks are too easy to delete when adding or updating information. I’d use content controls nested inside the bookmarks. This also takes advantage of tabbing from one control to another, making it faster to input and edit information. The controls can be grouped or placed in a table. But don’t use the Locking options when creating the control. Locking a control prevents the target document from updating.

The Target Document

I’d place the following field in the target document
{INCLUDETEXT "{FILENAME \P}\\..\\source document filename" bookmark}
Replacing the source document filename with the Customer Information filename (including the docx extension) and the bookmark with the name of the bookmark from the source document.
The {FILENAME \P}\\..\\ portion of the field extracts the path & filename of the current file and clips off the filename (using \\..\\), which allows you to substitute the source document filename. Hat tip to MS Word MVP Paul Edstein for this clever solution.


The INCLUDETEXT field is classified as a “warm” field in Word. This means it does not update automatically, but requires user intervention. The user needs to select the field and press the F9 function key to update. If multiple fields are used in the same document, use Ctrl + A to select the entire document, then press F9 to update all fields.
There are macros to update all the fields as well, but the keyboard commands are just as straightforward. Depending on the workflow, I might write a macro to loop through all the documents in a folder and force updating.

I offer Word template design services and training. Feel free to send me an email.

A donation to the Youth Benefit Golf Tournament

As you can see from the elegant cat supervising the work, the gift bags for the Youth Benefit Golf Tournament have arrived!  The proceeds of this Best Ball Tournament will go directly the Medicine Hat Youth Action Society & Redcliff Youth Centre.  Both organizations provide a safe, substance free environment for local youth; with free educational and recreational programming.

Shortcut Key bag with contents
A Bag, a quiz, some tips and a prize

Each bag has is covered in the entire alphabet of shortcut key combinations (around 55) for Microsoft Word.  You can test your knowledge! Some of my favorite Word shortcuts are on the attached card. Plus, I’ve tucked in a little bit of WebGenii swag into the bag as well.

The tricky part of designing this bag is that there are so many keyboard shortcuts for Word. So, I decided to limit myself to only the letter shortcuts.

For the list of my favorite shortcuts on the card I made sure only to pick my non-letter favorites. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite here too!

Close up of Quiz & Tip card
Close up of Quiz & Tip card

Clearly, keeping our box loving friend out of the boxes was an incentive to quick work; because the bags have all been stuffed and prepared for drop-off at the Redcliff Youth Centre.

Packed boxes with Shortcut key bag
Box with Shortcut key bag

I hope that you or your company have signed up for the  Youth Benefit Golf Tournament. Its going to be a great time for a worthwhile local cause.


Tweet Cruncher

I have a Social Media project on the go (waves at that is going to involve tweeting sections of existing documents.

I really hate counting characters. So I decided it was time to make myself a tool for the job.

Original Document and Result after Tweet Cruncher is run on the selected text
Original Document and Result after Tweet Cruncher is run on the selected text

You can see above what I have; the selected area of the original document is highlighted in varying colours, corresponding to the resulting text broken up into tweets. Additionally, I have inserted my chosen hashtag and a count of the sequence of tweets.

Dialog box for Tweet Cruncher
Tweet Cruncher Dialog

The length of the tweets and the Hashtag are entered in a dialog box when the Tweet Cruncher runs. This information is saved with the document, for consistency with subsequent tweets. The Tweets are not exactly the tweet length; I’ve added a bit of code to “round off” each tweet to whole words. The hashtag and sequence count are additional to the length.

And realistically, there will still be editing for content and meaning. Nevertheless, this tool should save me a ton of counting and get the project going faster.

Sub BreakIntoTweets()
Dim IntSelection As Integer
Dim IntPostNumb As Integer
Dim IntPostCount As Integer
Dim IntCharCount As Integer
Dim IntTweetLength As Integer
Dim rngSelectedRange As Word.Range
Dim strPostText As String
Dim intColourPick As Integer
Dim docNewDoc As Word.Document
Dim docWorkingDoc As Word.Document
Dim strPropertyName As String
Dim strHashTag As String
Dim blnWord As Boolean
Dim intActualLength As Integer

Dim arrColourOptions As Variant
arrColourOptions = Array(wdBrightGreen, wdPink, wdTurquoise, wdYellow)
Set docWorkingDoc = ActiveDocument
strPropertyName = "HashTag"
strHashTag = frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtHashTag
docWorkingDoc.CustomDocumentProperties(strPropertyName) = strHashTag
IntTweetLength = frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtTweetLength
Set rngSelectedRange = Selection.Range
MsgBox rngSelectedRange.Characters.Count & " characters are selected. Including Paragraph Marks"
IntSelection = rngSelectedRange.Characters.Count
IntPostNumb = IntSelection / IntTweetLength
MsgBox IntPostNumb

IntCharCount = 1
Documents.Add DocumentType:=wdNewBlankDocument
Set docNewDoc = ActiveDocument
For IntPostCount = 1 To IntPostNumb
    Selection.MoveRight unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=IntTweetLength - 1, Extend:=wdExtend
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> " ") Then blnWord = True ' extend to word
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> ".") Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> "?") Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> vbCr) Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> "!") Then blnWord = True
    If blnWord = True Then
        Selection.MoveRight unit:=wdWord, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
        intActualLength = Selection.Characters.Count
        intActualLength = IntTweetLength
    End If
    blnWord = False
    strPostText = Selection.Text & frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtHashTag & " " & IntPostCount & "/" & IntPostNumb
    'get rid of any hard returns
    strPostText = Replace(strPostText, vbCr, " ")
    Selection.TypeText (strPostText) & vbCr
    intColourPick = IntPostCount - (4 * Int(IntPostCount \ 4)) 'note this is why no base 1 option for array here, also \ means different than / (truncation function)
    Selection.Range.HighlightColorIndex = arrColourOptions(intColourPick)
    IntCharCount = IntCharCount + intActualLength
      On Error Resume Next
    rngSelectedRange.Characters(IntCharCount).Select '(errors on final character of selection)
Next IntPostCount

End Sub