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Document (Word) Merge from User Side

Note: Prior to 9.1, Document Merge referred to what is now called File Merge. Document Merge now refers to a new feature that utilizes the Compare and Merge Documents Tool in Microsoft Word. It interfaces directly to the tool in Microsoft Word to eliminate the need for the user to access Word and use the tool manually. Users can be given the right on a proposal basis to access the Document Merge feature on the user side.

Document Merge is intended to facilitate the process of combining multiple review copies from different reviewers and incorporating them back into the master document. Microsoft Word must be installed on your local system for this feature to work.

The Basic Process

To perform a merge, select files to be merged by double-clicking on them or by selecting them and clicking on the Add Files button. The order does not matter. You can select multiple files and links using the standard Windows conventions (Ctrl-click, Shift-click). Click on Select Local Folder to specify the local folder where the merged document will be stored. Enter the name for the newly merged document in the text field. It is also possible to copy the merged document to the server. Select the server folder where it is to be stored. When finished with setup click on Start Merge. If files are password protected it will be necessary to enter the password when prompted. An alert will indicate when the merge is finished.

When the option to copy the merged document to the server is selected, and a file with the same name already exists in the selected folder, the user has the option to replace the original file or cancel. If you choose replacement, the original file will be written to the version folder, the version will be updated and “replacement” noted in the history of that document. If cancel is chosen, the merge will be completed but the file will not be written to the server.

Check the Export Comments box to export the comments from all documents into a separate document which will be called 'nameofmergedoc_CommentTracker'. It will contain a table of all comments listed by page and showing the comment scope, comment text and author for each comment. There will be a blank column allowing for additional notes. This document will have the same extension and will be saved in the same folder as the merged document. If the merged document is saved on the server, this document will also be saved on the server in the same folder.

Recommended Method

There are several ways to accomplish the task of incorporating comments from reviewers into the master document, however, we recommend the following method:
  • If it is desired to lock the document for comment only and/or password protect it, check-out the master document for edit, set these features in Word, and check the document back in. If allowing reviewers to make changes other than comments, you will also want to enable Track Changes in Word before checking the document back in.
  • The individual reviewers will check the document out for review, make their comments, and possibly edits, and check the document back in.
  • In the Document Merge panel select the individual review files to be merged.
  • Select the local folder where the merged document will be stored.
  • Enter the name of the master document in the field for the merged document’s name.
  • Check the boxes to Export Comments and Copy Merged Document to Server.
  • Select the folder where the master document resides for the server folder.
  • Click on Start Merge. When prompted, click on OK to confirm you want to replace the master document with the newly merged document.
  • When the merge process is finished, several things will have happened: the merged document will be stored in the local folder and the server folder; the original master document will be copied to the appropriate version folder, the version will be updated and "replacement" will be noted in the document's history; a new document named 'nameofmergedoc_CommentTracker' will be written to both the local and the server folder.
  • Check the master document out for edit, review the comments and make all desired changes. Save the document and check it back in.
  • Check the _CommentTracker document out for edit and update the additional comments column with the resolutions for each comment. Save the document and check it back in.

This allows you to efficiently keep records of the entire process in VPC for future reference. It will be captured in the various versions of both documents.

Alternative Use of Document Merge

Another use for the document merge function is to facilitate the process of having multiple authors working on the same document. Instead of checking the document out for edit, which would be normal for individuals writing a document, have them check the document out for review. Make sure that Track Changes is enabled on the master document first. Then simply follow the recommended method above with the exception of exporting the comments to a separate document. There is no need for that option. Each individual author will work on their own sections and through document merge and subsequent clean up by the editor the document can be pulled together quite easily.

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