Transfer Letterheads in Microsoft Word

I have a client with well over a thousand documents all created with a letterhead in MS Word. We'll call it 'Letterhead A'. They have recently changed offices and now have a new letterhead: 'Letterhead B'. They need to be able to take these documents and easily change the letterhead on them as they use them. i.e. Open the old document and somehow update the letterhead to the new letterhead and save it.

Any ideas on how we could even attempt this would be much appreciated.
James ParsonsAsked:
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Clarification, please. When a document is finished, the user often prints it out, signs it, emails it,  or otherwise communicates it to someone else. Whatever it is that gets communicated to an outsider lets the "Authoritative Copy". Normally, you never want to change the electronic Word document after an Authoritative Copy has been created. If you do, the version in Word won't match what the outside person received -- leading to confusion (or worse).

Yes, users often like to copy old documents, modify them, then save them as new documents. In that situation, you would want to change the letterhead.

This is important, becasue we can create an automatic tool to handle the letterhead conversion for you, but you probably want to activate it manually. IOW, the user opens an old document, then makes a conscious decision to modify it -- rather than the machine doing it without asking.

Also -- I take it that these folks don't use templates, Building Blocks, or other text automation tools, right? (If they do, this job would be a whole lot easier).
To me a letterhead is a piece of paper that I put in the printer, then print off my letter on to.

Do you mean these are Word documents based on a Word template (A)?  And you would retrospectively like the ability to change the template they are based on (to B)?

I like lwebber's point about changing a document that is stored for archival purposes.  If you are legally required, or advised, to keep a copy of a document, and it only exists in this electronic form, when you change the 'letterhead' you are effectively destroying the only copy of the document you have.  And you will be unable to later rely on it.

James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Great comments! Thank you. This is a Law Firm that is stuck in the dinosaur ages. They have a Word Document that has a header and footer as their "letterhead" file. They have a MACRO that was written that allows them to open a new Word doc, click a button, and the MACRO will insert the header and foot file.

What they want to do is take these pre-written docs that all have the old "letterhead" on it (header and footer), and replace the header and footer with the new ones, thus creating a new "letterhead", but keeping the content within the document.

As you stated Iwebber, a manual button or process for this would be desirable.

Hope this helps clarify.

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Sounds like you need a new macro to delete the old header and replace it with the new one whilst leaving the content intact.  I'm not even sure that's possible, but if it is I'm sure someone here will know how.

Best of luck!
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
That's what I'm hoping for too davesgonebananas. Thanks though!
Have you tried a simple Find and Replace? Could you post a sample please.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
The old letterhead header and footer files were text.  The new letterhead header and footer files are images. I'll have to check with my client about posting samples on here.
Whoa -- using images for letterhead is a bad idea -- you are headed for a world of hurt. A logo graphic, maybe. But don't use it for the firm's name, address, attorney names, etc. you think it's hard making changes to the old ones? Wait a year or two and try to make changes to the images.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
I agree. Unfortunately this letterhead is already in place so we need a solution involving that letterhead. Am i way out to lunch on this??
Tell you what I would do --- craft a non-image version of the letterhead. With some careful tweaking (and use of styles, of course), you should be able to get something close to a 100% clone.

Surely you can upload a copy of the new letterhead graphic? After all, the firm will be sending it out to the public in all their letters. Not exactly "client confidential".
And you really will have to post a full sample of an old document. Reason: there are dozens of ways the old macro might have shoved the letterhead in. We need to see how it was done in order to tell you how to replace it.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
I've attached letterheads. A.doc is the old one. SHLetterhead.doc is the new one. Let me know if that doesn't work. Hopefully from the samples you can see what I mean.
Kawabunga! The old document uses a LINK field. This is EXCELLENT. You may be able to "instantly" convert these simply by repointing the link (but beware of the problem of descyncrhonizing legacy documents from the Authoritative Copy -- particularly important for legal work).

The new one looks pretty. The only parts that need to be graphics are the curvey corner shaded thingies at the top and bottom, plus the fancy firm name/logo thing at the top right. The lawyers' names and location cities at the top should be text, and everything in the bottom should be trext as well (except the curvey thing). This would not be that hard to do. Can you have a crack at coming up with the formatting to do this? If you do, I'll help you combine it with the graphics and show you how to do the link repointing thing.

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James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Excellent. Thanks Iwebber. I'll work on that right now and let you know how it comes. Thanks!!!
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
I've attached a document with the text in text boxes. I'm not sure if this will work or not. Please let me know if we're heading in the right direction. Thanks for your help on this Iwebber.
Looks good so far. What version of Word are you using?
BTW, your new letterhead text is in a funky font that I don't have on my machine. Word is subbing a different one, and it looks --- well, bad. I assume that on your machine, the lawyers' names and the footer text all look perfect.

Here's what you do. In your new letterhead document, edit the header. (Word 2007+ - Insert tab, pull down Headers, click Edit Header). Ctrl+a to select the whole thing, Ctrl+c to copy it. Exit the header. Create a new blank document. Ctrl+v to paste it in. Save this as U:\Law2\Letterhead\headerNew.doc. Same for the footer -- save it as U:\Law2\Letterhead\footerNew.doc.

Now pull up an old document. Press Alt+F9 to switch to Field Codes view. Then Ctrl+h. Find: \\header.doc  Replace with:  \\headerNew.doc

Press Alt+F9 to switch back to field results. Ctrl+a, F9 to refresh the fields.

Oooooooh. Look at your new letterhead in your old document.

Before we deal with the footer and how to make all of this into a single keystroke, let's see if you get this far without problems.
I should add something here. Seeing that your old documents use link fields --- well, all that hot air back there about having your letterhead in a graphic was a bit over-blown. You could do the steps in my previous post using the graphic rather than your text facsimile. IOW, when you edit the header and do a Ctrl+a, Ctrl+c, you would be snagging just the graphic. Fine. Just follow the same instructions.

This is probably going to make things easier, because your users may not have that funky font on *their* computers either. Your letterhead might end up looking like a ransom note.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
That sounds fantastic. Thanks Iwebber. I'll take a look tomorrow and see what I can do there.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Hi Iwebber. Well I played around with your instructions above, and it certainly appears as though it's working. I was able to copy the header image to a blank doc, save it as headerNew.doc, and then change the link. When I refresh the doc, it pulls the image in. The only issue is that the old letterhead was formated differently, so it's putting it in the wrong position in relation to margins, but that may be something they'll have to fix manually and live with.

Next steps....
This should be easy to fix. Do the replacement in an old document, then select the header and press Ctrl+Shift+F9. This unlinks it, leaving the contents of the Header in place. Now adjust the position of the graphic until it is just so -- then select the Header contents and save it out as HeaderNew.doc (probably should make a safety copy of the previous HeaderNew.doc just in case).

The LINK field doesn't allow repositioning, but its contents certainly can be. The Ctrl+Shift+F9 trick replaces the field code with the field "results" -- i.e. whatever the field was showing. So now you can edit it all you want and save it out again.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Okay. I was able to do Ctrl+Shift+F9 to unlink it and reposition, however now i can't seem to do anything. If i copy the header and paste it in a new document it just reverts back to the previous position in the new document and doesn't take any of the formating with it. I assume that's what you mean by "select the Header contents and save it out as HeaderNew.doc"?
If you are using a graphic for the Header, then make sure the graphic's position is "absolute" with respect to the page -- not relative to the page margins. Reason: the old and the new docs may have different page margins.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Hi Iwebber. I'm able to get the new image linked correctly so that when I reopen the document it asks me if I want to update the links. I say yes, and then it opens the correct headerNew.doc part, however I'm still having issues with the formating. I made sure that the image within the headerNew.doc was set as Absolute position relative to the page, however it's still coming across in the wrong position. Am I missing something here?
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
I've attached a screenshot of how it's appearing once the linked header file is opened.
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Okay, so I've been able to teak the header in such as a way that it's just squashed a little and fits on the page. I think given the requirements of the client, this is the best we'll be able to do. I just can't seem to figure it out to get to fit inside the page properly. Oh well.....what are you thoughts on the foot Iwebber? Thanks for all of your help on this.
There's no reason why the positioning should be different. Upload your problem doc -- and the reference doc it is supposed to match.

For the footer, you will need a macro, because a Find and Replace can't *create* a field where one doesn't already exist. Just use the macro recorder and record the following:

1. find the text contained in the existing footer
2. Delete it and insert a LINK field. While recording the macro, press Ctrl+F9 to insert an empty field code, then type in LINK blah blah (whatever the inside of the LINK code has to be), then press F9 to update the field and display its results.
3. Stop the macro recorder.
4. Assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut (File, Options, Advanced, Customize Ribbon, Customize (next to "Keyboard Shortcuts" at the bottom).
James ParsonsAuthor Commented:
Okay, that worked perfectly! Footer is linked and displaying fine.
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