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So in the last post, we went over what I mean by the concept of structured editing in Word. I deliberately skipped over the awesome work we did in this same space in Word 2003, and I'm going to keep saving that for the future. In this post, I want to finish my first thought and go through the types of controls, and what they're capable of/useful for.
In the first post, we talked about how within the Developer tab, the Controls group exposes all seven control types:
Let me talk a little bit more about how we decided on that set, and what each of them do, starting in the top left.
With this control, you can also use the properties to set how the date should look – 1/1/06 vs. January 1, 2006 vs. Jan 2006; and also what language the calendar and date text should appear in (Avril vs. April).
Beyond that, all of the controls also share a set of common properties:
Now, why that set? When we set out to add more structured editing capability to Word, we spent a lot of time looking at what it meant to structure a *document* vs. building a form. That thinking led us into a lot of research about what it means to have form-like UI within a rich document, whose printed output is also extremely important.
You can see the set we ended up with in my list above, but the biggest outcome of our thinking was the way in which we added the form UI to the Word document. If you play with the controls in a document, you'll notice that when you're not editing them, there's no UI at all distinguishing them from regular content ( in other words, the frame above only appears when you're inside the control's content) – a big goal for us when we set out, and the subject of my next post.
Sorry, but I can't seem to sort out what you mean by "the control must either contain >1 paragraph; or exactly 1 or more paragraphs."
Good question - sorry, I wasn't very clear on that point. What I mean is that (and maybe it wasn't worth mentioning) the control can't start in the middle of one paragraph and end in the middle of another. Does that make more sense? - Tristan
The paragraph after 6 is numbered 1. Not very good demonstration on the use of auto numbering in Word.
I wonder if it is possible to make cross reference links easily in the new Word? I'm thinking a situation like if I was writing a book with Word and somewhere in the text I wrote "... as we have seen in the picture 3.3 in chapter 3 XYZ..." and then if the identification -– the number -- of that picture changes, all the references would be updated automatically so that it would say something else instead of "picture 3.3 in chapter 3 XYZ". Also it would be good if all the changes would be highlighted if there was a need to adjust spelling (in morphing linguistic systems). Of course it would be nice if anything could be made an object like that. Or is there a better place to ask something like this? I was actually browsing some information how to achieve this painlessly in Word 2003, in vain thus far. This is a nice blog concerning the new features in Word, very nice indeed. :-)
Alex - good catch, it looks like the XHTML output was in error. (FWIW, in Word the post looks correct - I promise.) Veikko - This is definitely possible, if you are using Word 2007 and look on the References tab, you can add a Caption to each picture/table (on the Captions group), which will automatically update as the picture's ordinality changes, and use the Cross-Reference button next to Insert Caption to insert a reference to the appropriate chapter. Good idea for a future post. - Tristan
Can you let us know the reason for omitting check boxes and option buttons from the set of content controls? I know I'm going to have to explain it to users in the newsgroups, and so far I don't understand it myself. The legacy ActiveX controls don't work well, especially because they trigger the macro security warning. The legacy Forms check boxes require form protection, and there isn't any option button in that set. I know we could use the dropdown with only Yes/No or On/Off choices, but that seems to be clumsy compared to a check box.
I can't seem to find the "Self-Destruct" property in Word 2007 or 2010? Is it still available?