The Bad news is…time flies, but, the Good news is…YOU are the PILOT (Michael Altshuler)
If there are too many cooks in the kitchen, it is likely that mistakes, confusion, and irritation will ensue, which in itself is counter-productive for all concerned, and defeats the purpose of the exercise altogether.
I find it is best to work alone when under pressure to meet client deadlines, and offer rough drafts of the document until the project is complete, and has reached the ‘final draft’ stage for the group and project leader’ review.
With that said, following are a few important technical tips to keep in mind:
- Make a ‘backup’ copy of the document as soon as you are given control of it – ideally, save on your ‘hard drive’ or a CD, not on the Network;
- Be sure to have your ‘Auto Recover’ settings at 3 or 5-minute intervals – this way you know your system is backing up your work should you hit a snag with a graphic or other data – a max of 5 minutes should be your normal setting for all your work;
- Use your ‘*Versioning’ tool (Version History in 2010) if you know there will be ‘multiple’ versions made of the document due to cut and pastes by your professional team leaders;
- Do NOT generate your Table of Contents until the end – highly likely to be changed; wording of headings, also because of heading relocations, and other data edits;
- Do NOT insert your headers or footers until the end (this includes page numbering) – these too are likely to change by your team, and it will save you time in the long run – particularly for individual ‘section footers’;
- Leave out the Graphics to import until the final approval of the ‘main’ document body – provide the graphics and excel charts to your team in a separate file for their review and approval;
- If your team is out of the office, be sure to use a DRAFT watermark (or insert a footer) on the document you send them ‘via Email’ to avoid any confusion;
- ‘Import’ your Excel charts vs. creating them directly in Word – Word gets confused easily and can mess up if working with a long or complicated document – I also suggest ‘linking’ so they are synced and your edits are automatically updated in Word. Make sure you have auto-updating for links turned on;
- If your document is very long and obviously complicated, do NOT use your function keys of Ctrl S to save – use the file/save command instead;
- For quick and easy access to Rush jobs, use your ‘Document location’ toolbar, or save your documents in a folder you have created on your desktop;
- Please ‘generate your Table of Contents electronically’ – NOT manually! Believe it or not, some people still create manual TOC’s which are a nightmare to work with for other staff members working on the document if you are away;
- If you have not worked with a document of this complexity before, save it as a Template to refer to – be selective with this, and only do so if the document is very complex – this will save you a significant amount of time in the future.
* Versioning: If you save a document that used versioning in the Microsoft Office Word 97-2003 file format, and then open it in Office Word 2007, you will lose access to the versions.
Please also note: If you open a document in Office Word 2007 and save it in either Word 97-2003 or Office Word 2007 file formats, you will permanently lose all versions.
If you do run into problems with versioning, you can save versions of a document as multiple files by using the Version Extraction Tool, please visit the Microsoft TechNet Web site to learn more.
Make sure your professional teams use ‘track changes’ and if a complication arises, use your ‘document compare function’ (called compare documents in 2010) to track the changes that were made yourself.