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  • BC and Microsoft Track Changes

    I am a technical person who recently began a term in local government. We have spent the last year drafting a very long document that regulates local signage.

    There has been much debate on our commission (all non-technical people except me) on whether it is possible to track all changes to the document. The people who are doing the drafting don't want to spend time on these matters.

    Without track changes, the drafters have the power to slip in small changes that could drastically alter the intent of the document. So, we need some tool to quickly compare versions of the document in order to focus on recent changes.

    As a technical person, I use Beyond Compare all the time and I am using BC to monitor document changes by converting the Word documents to text. I need someway to "publish" those changes so that I can show them to the rest of the group. I doubt I could ever convince all these lawyers to learn how to use BC.

    I would love to know if there is someway to connect BC with Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature. Would it be possible to somehow do a three-way merge that results in some sort of word document using Track changes.

    Thanks,
    ( I truly love your product. I use it every day and it makes my life so much easier.)

    Dan

  • #2
    BC3 merge sessions are text based. Word files are not. They contain additional formatting characters that cannot be read or written to by BC3. All integration with Microsoft Office products starts with a process that strips the special characters and extracts the text-based content only from the office document. I can't think of any way to integrate with the change tracking in word from the BC3 side. If you are a programmer, however, you may be able to write a Word macro using the Visual Basic for Applications that is built into Microsoft Word that imports data into Word from a BC3 report. Change tracking in Word may then be able to provide what you are looking for.
    BC v4.0.7 build 19761
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    • #3
      Hello,

      I do not see a method to have Word call an external tool to present a diff or merge between multiple files or from the Track Changes feature. If there is a way to call an external tool, given parameters, then BC3 could be customized to be that tool. Microsoft or a Microsoft support forum may have more info on that as well.

      As for Merging Word documents, we can read multiple .doc or .docx files and compare them, but we cannot save as a Word file. We can generate a Report of the differences (from the Session menu of the Text Compare session) between two files, or generate output from the Output pane as a plain text file. If you simply need to show co-workers what has changed between two versions, and you are already using BC3 to see those differences, it should be fairly easy to generate a report (as plain text, HTML, or output to a printer). Is this the type of functionality you are looking for?
      Aaron P Scooter Software

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      • #4
        I was actually looking for a diff report that would directly integrate with Word's track changes. I thought you might have explored this avenue. I am surprised that Word does not expose any type of API along these lines. If I have the time, I will check out the Microsoft forums and report back to you if I find anything useful.

        I can make due with BC's existing reports. Perhaps this is something to think about for the future.

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        • #5
          When dealing with this word document, is each user accessing the same document on the same network location? I believe that may be how Track Changes is intended to be used, and marks how each Windows User has changed the file.
          Aaron P Scooter Software

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