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Don't forget the small stuff

Simple business tools like this add-in for Microsoft Word can take the hassle out of a business process

We spend so much time working on large scale business applications that it’s easy to forget that a simple bit of strategic code in the right place can really help simplify a process, or prevent common mistakes within your business.

A recent example at Xibis was when we were writing specifications and proposals for new business --we found we’d encounter the same small problems, proposal after proposal. They’d either need to be fixed manually – which is time-consuming and annoying to do repeatedly, or worse, the proposal would go out to the client with the problems intact, which is embarrassing.

So here were the common mistakes we were sometimes making within our proposals:

  • We’d update the document, but forget to refresh the contents page. Contents would sometimes be missing elements, or worse the page number would be displayed as “reference not found”
  • Sometimes we’d forget to update the version number in the document, so the number in the document didn’t match the version number in the filename.
  • We use cross-references within our document. Often these cross-references get lost as we move paragraphs around and the document would display “Error! Reference source not found” in place of the reference.

A simple MS Word Add-in development tool solved all of these problems. Contents and cross-references are now refreshed automatically upon save, and warnings issued where there are reference problems. Version numbers are automatically changed to match filenames, and paragraph indentation is fixed automatically.

These problems may seem minor. They are – but we used to encounter them almost every day, fixing them was frustrating, and mistakes caused embarrassment. Now these problems simply don’t exist – thanks to just a few hours programming a Word Add-in.

Just a reminder that IT is not just about big systems solving big business problems. Small systems solving small business problems can give an equal, or even higher, cost-benefit ratio.

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Oadby, Leicester LE2 5DN

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0116 272 9990