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Word document review features

Posted on 2010-09-22
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I am looking into ways Microsoft Word can be used for effective document review and version control – as well as any audit logs the software provides.

Basically, in a current setup we have:

•      Junior Employees
•      Senior Employees
•      Managers

The standard process for creating a word document report is as follows:

Junior employees who write, lets say “reports”. Version 1 of the document.

At present they just email the senior employee and sends a hyperlink to the senior who reviews the report, suggests changes, and sends it back to the junior employee to make the amendments. Version 2 of the document.

The junior then sends a hyperlink to the manager of the report to management for a final review, and changes are then made by the manager. Version 3 of the document.

At present the process is really messy. There is no effective version control, no audit log of changes made, by whom, when etc, so we have a hard time demonstrating to an external audit how the process went through the correct channels.

Has word the capacity to streamline this process more effectively, in terms of both “passing documents” for review, audit logs, informing users documents are ready for review and so on.
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Question by:pma111
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ProfessorBindokas earned 1000 total points
ID: 33732839
Hi

What version of MS Word are you using?  Versioning was available in 97-2003 versions, but the feature was dropped in the 2007 and newer editions of Word.

A possible simple solution would be using the track changes feature, which lists changes made by author username.  This would at least provide some kind of trail of changes made.  In terms of routing, Word has the embedded email function, where the user could email the document to another user directly from Word.

Other options would be to use a third-party add-in for Word that allows full audit trails, e.g. http://www.wordsite.com/Newsletters/Newsletter5.html.  

A good option, in my opinion, would be the use of a subversion system.  There are a few choices of good, opensource subversion systems available (see http://subversion.apache.org/packages.html).  Properly configured, this would provide full version control and an audit trail of changes made.  However, a subversion system would not address the workflow issues.

Finally, if you need workflow and versioning, the best option in my opinion is the use of a full-fledged document management system.  Since I am a fan of opensource software, my recommendation in this area would be http://www.openkm.com/   However, you can, of course, use a range of commercial products or custom dev something, for example, on SharePoint.
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by:Patrick Matthews
Patrick Matthews earned 1000 total points
ID: 33732869
pma111,Word does not have ultra-strong version control, but you should consider the following:1) Track Changes.  Keeps a log of changes made to a document, and in later review changes can be accepted or rejected2) Word does have a versioning capability, as described in http://wordprocessing.about.com/library/WordTutorials/blversions.htmHowever, if you need strong version control, check in/check out, and/or workflow, then you should probably be looking at SharePoint.Patrick
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by:Patrick Matthews
ID: 33732874
slow fingers :)
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by:ProfessorBindokas
ID: 33732885
:-)
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by:pma111
ID: 33751855
z
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