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Best Road To Take

I am wondering if I am taking the correct approach to a program.  I produce documents for clients based upon the state requirements and by project name (construction related).  So I have a folder per state with several Word documents.  These documents contain links to a table that the user fills out specifying names, addresses, work description, etc.  This works fine but I want to write a program that is easier for my clients to use.  

I am thinking that I need to build datatables in VB (one for each contact type ie "Owner", "Contractor", "Architect", etc.)  I wish for my clients to be able to "add" information that will then become part of a drop down menu as many have repeat customers, contractors, etc.

I then want to be able to copy these fields into the Word document (either by bookmark or others have suggested mail merge).

Another expert told me to build a text file in VB but I don't think that is necessary.  I want to make sure I start this with a good foundation so any advise would be helpful.  You guys have been awesome thus far in helping me and I really appreciate it.
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noticetoowner
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noticetoowner
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CodeCruiserCommented:
Is it going to be a single user app? If so, Access can serve you adequately. You would need tables for entities as you said and forms to add/edit/view these entities.
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noticetoownerAuthor Commented:
The problem I am having is that most of my clients do not have or use Access.  So I am trying to work exclusively with VB 2010 Express and Word 2010.
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CodeCruiserCommented:
They do not need to have Access. They just need to have Jet database engine(included in Windows) or Office connectivity components based on version of Access that you choose to use.
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Éric MoreauSenior .Net ConsultantCommented:
you can use OpenXML (freely) to fill a Word document, check http://www.emoreau.com/Entries/Articles/2011/03/Using-OpenXML-to-fill-a-Word-document-from-a-Net-application.aspx

another way to go if you can afford its price is to use aspose.com
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noticetoownerAuthor Commented:
Okay I set up a database in Access with the appropriate tables.  I then mail merged them in Word.  I have a few questions as to how to go from here.  If I just want to use Access and Word how do I prompt users for information if they do not have Access?  Also a few of the documents will be used several times with different data throughout the project.  I will need to prompt user for that info also, how is that built?  I am looking at the Access posts here to see if I can find the info and links on my own.  I have attached file to clarify what I mean.
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noticetoownerAuthor Commented:
dont think it attached my doc...
program-diagram.docx
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CodeCruiserCommented:
You would be better off building an application which allows users to manage their information and then export to word. You have multiple options for this export functionality including mail merge, bookmarks, openxml etc.
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Helen FeddemaCommented:
See my Code Sample #24 (Four Ways to Merge to Word):

http://www.helenfeddema.com/Files/code24.zip

or my more recent ebook, Working with Word (can't give the link, but it is available from the Office Watch Website).  This book covers methods and techniques through Word 2010.
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noticetoownerAuthor Commented:
I think codecruiser has the right idea.  I will need to use Access and Word but I want this to be a VB exe program.  I am just lost as to where to begin so I started with Access and am learning more about it.  I guess I will post another question as to the best layout as I am confused on how to organize my data.
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noticetoownerAuthor Commented:
Codecruiser has been awesome in helping me, not just with code but set up and basics...
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