Creating Smart Documents

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Excel workbooks have always been able to interact with other Office documents, but those interactions have been somewhat limited. Creating links to data on the Web, in a database, or in another Office document are all valuable abilities, but the workbook was simply a stand- alone collection of bits. In Office 2003, smart documents are Office documents that have metadata (that is, data that tells the document about itself) with information regarding how they fit within a business process, allowing the documents to take programmed actions based on that context.

As an example, if you work at a technical services firm that uses an Excel-based template to track the time you spend on various projects, you probably create a new workbook (with one worksheet) at the beginning of every week, save it with your identifying information, and fill in your time at the end of each day. Then, at the end of the week, you either save the workbook to a network folder or e-mail the workbook to your administrative contact. Smart documents, by contrast, have programming that fills in the details about how your timecard fits in the business process. When you create a new timecard workbook, Excel recognizes who you are and fills in your personal data (name, employee number, projects, etc.). Then, when you're ready to leave for the week, the smart document displays a button that lets you send the workbook to the next stage in the process. And as far as you're concerned, it doesn't matter what mechanism is used to send the data along; it could be written to a database, saved as a worksheet in a workbook elsewhere on the network, incorporated into data on a BizTalk server tracking workflow issues, or attached to a Microsoft Outlook e-mail message and sent to your administrative contact.



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Microsoft Excel 2003 Programming Inside Out
Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Programming Inside Out (Inside Out (Microsoft))
ISBN: 0735619859
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 161

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