How to make Quick Parts more intelligent in MS Word?
September 4, 2009 3:58 PM   Subscribe

I want to automate a Word document for some sales drones. I'd love it if I could check for when a Quick Part field ends with an "s", and if so insert just an apostrophe as opposed to apostrophe then "s". But how?

Here's the sitch: Sales need a template they can use that's been automated to within an inch of its life. So I've used Quick Parts for a field called [Company] like so:

If [Company]'s requirements...

They can edit one instance of the [Company] field and it auto-updates across the whole document. Which works great, right up until said [Company] name ends with an "s", eg:

If Ridge Services's requirements...

They send out a lot of these documents, and I don't trust them to reliably check every one for instances of "Ridge Services's" and correct them all (even though Word helpfully lets you know via its spelling error red underline).

So, is there any way to check what letter [Company] ends with, and if it ends with any letter other than "s", insert an apostrophe and then "s", but if [Company] ends with an "s", just insert an apostrophe?

And if so, how?

Oh, and it has to work across MS Word 2007 PC, and MS Word 2008 Mac. Ya know, just to complicate things...

PPS: I hate Word
posted by Ridge to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: PPPS: I forgot what I wanted to PS.
posted by Ridge at 4:00 PM on September 4, 2009

Just in case, did you know that "Ridge Services's requirements" is correct?
posted by Houstonian at 4:31 PM on September 4, 2009

Um, there's nothing wrong with "Ridge Services's requirements."
posted by rokusan at 4:57 PM on September 4, 2009

Yeah that's fine the way it is. If it bothers you, the easiest fix would be to make it "If the requirements of [Company]..." instead.
posted by Partial Law at 5:25 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Ridge Services's" and correct them all

As others have said, this is already correct. "Ridge Services" is a singular entity, and as such takes the 's in the possessive, even though it ends in a plural word.

"Ridge Services's personnel are highly skilled workers who can offer many HVAC interventions. These services' parameters include repairs, replacements, and upgrades."
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:57 PM on September 4, 2009

Yeah, s's is actually preferred, s' is acceptable.
posted by disillusioned at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah, that example is technically correct. And the Chicago Manual of Style agrees that the "Ridge Services's" form is recommended. However, I did read that "If the singular possessive is difficult or awkward to pronounce with an added sibilant, do not add an extra s" on the Guardian's style guide (I'm English, so that could be why I prefer the lack of the extra s - it's how I was taught).

Having said all that, I'd still like to know if it's technically feasible to accomplish what I originally asked. Thankings!
posted by Ridge at 8:36 PM on September 4, 2009

The easiest thing you probably could do is just require sales folk to use Find and Replace to find s's and replace them with s'. This assumes, however, that there is never a case where you want s's anywhere else in the document. In which case, you would want to use the advanced options in Find and Replace to find only the particular style where the company's name appears. (As in, you would have to make that field in your template a different style originally, so you would have something to search for.) Also, you can do a Find and Replace for fields using the Special option in the Find and Replace advanced options.

If you want something more automated, I think you'll have to take two different approaches for your Mac and PC users. With Macs, you can easily write an AppleScript that does the same Find and Replace operation. With PCs, I think you'll have to use VB. Either way, your sales folks would still have to remember to run the script. But, if all these documents have to go to you first before they get sent out, you could write a script that does this in batches.
posted by ifandonlyif at 9:18 AM on September 5, 2009

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