Word 2007 Reference
April 5, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Dealing with numerous style complications and Tables of Contents?

My job includes using Word 2007 to clean up documents with Tables of Contents. The documents are very messy, style-wise, and are supposed to contain differences in TOC text-style and style for headings in the body.

e.g., Heading 2's are usually supposed to be bold, all caps in the doc, but un-bold, lowercase in the TOC.

I've looked through numerous guides to Word 2007 which indicate the easiest way to use styles for the TOC is to use and tweak those built into Word. They explain how to carefully build a document so that it's hierarchy is clearly reflected in the TOC. Useful, but my documents have multiple contributing editors, none of which know shizzle about Word, and each of which fudges up the document upon touching it. It's adorable.

I need a reference that goes into all of the complications and ins-and-outs of styles. Every option for a style nuance is an aspect in which my documents are screwed, so I need to know, basically, everything. Books in Amazon have the "Look Inside this Book!" section, so I look in the index and then search by keywords to find some of the text of the book, but so far it seems even the most authoritative books I've seen avoid steer the reader of having to play with numerous ridiculous style tweaks as they create the document from the ground up.

I envy the readers of those books.

Thank you so much.
posted by alice_curiouse to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I hate to say this because I don't know all the details about your situation, but knowing Microsoft Word, it might be easier to fix your upstream problem and get all the contributing editors on board with a single document layout/style.

If this is too tall an order, you should at least point out how much time you're wasting because they don't know a thing about how to properly build a document and how frustrating it is to combine their work into a cohesive structure.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:49 AM on April 5, 2012

Welcome to the wonderful world of editing for production!

I did way the heck too much of this in law school, as editing for this sort of formatting and style is a huge chunk of what being on staff at a law journal is all about.

Our solution was probably more than you're willing to deal with, i.e., we had a vendor write us a whopping great macro which would impose the appropriate styles. When we got an article from a contributor, we'd run the macro and then do our editing. We'd then return it to the author, and when we got it back, the first thing we'd do is run the macro again to strip out any silliness imposed by the largely clueless authors. Even so, it wasn't perfect, and we'd still have to go back and make sure that each heading was formatted correctly.

But Word is actually pretty powerful here, in that you can set up a distinct style for each level of heading, and then automatically generate a table of contents based on those styles. The styles are set up on your computer, so the fact that the authors have futzed with the actual document won't stop you from selecting text and setting it to "Heading 1," "Subheading 1," etc. This, as you might imagine, is actually a pretty big pain in the neck to set up the first time around, which is why we paid someone else to do it, but it's really, really useful once you've got it going.
posted by valkyryn at 11:58 AM on April 5, 2012

Response by poster: Cannot do that. The document are handed to us from our clients. We cannot tell our clients how they need to write and format and create their documents. But, you're right, that would be a great solution.
posted by alice_curiouse at 11:58 AM on April 5, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, I'm aware of the styles and that they create TOCs. I need to know of a reference manual so that I can do it. Thank you.
posted by alice_curiouse at 12:00 PM on April 5, 2012

I use the dummies.com site for a primer. With 2007, it's so buggy especially using multiple styles from multiple Word versions and users, that I create a new document of my own, then apply the style I wanted to a contributor's copy, copy and paste into my document, then choose "no" when I close the contrib's file when it asks if you want to save changes. I continue to add my doc when all the new copy comes in, thereby building a clean, calm file.

When you're done with your auto TOC and want to reformat it, hit F9 or whatever it is to remove the "field" and then change the styles as you wish.

Word is just not a desktop publisher. Maybe InDesign would be better?
posted by PJSibling at 1:17 PM on April 5, 2012

Best answer: You know, the online help is excellent for styles in Word. One article is here, but there are links to other articles.
posted by Houstonian at 2:14 PM on April 5, 2012

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