About Us

Melanie Francis

Principal Consultant

 

Melanie has over 22 years’ software development experience. She has consulted on many different projects for multinational organisations in a wide range of industry sectors including banks and financial services, pharmaceutical and healthcare, local and central government, legal, media and technology.

Expert Office Documents are specialists in the Microsoft Office suite. We have over 22 years’ experience developing and supporting Microsoft Office applications. If you need any help with Word, Excel or PowerPoint, we are the people to come to. We should certainly be able to help you. Whether it is developing new custom templates, resolving problems with existing templates and documents or just formatting and producing documents for you.

 

We understand the need for business people to make their time more productive. We understand that people don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer trying to find their way around Word or Excel or PowerPoint. That’s why we love developing templates and automated reports to help people do their job well, to save them time and to save them from frustration. You don’t need to be technical to use one of our templates. We realise that most people want to be able to just get on with their report or proposal and not have to worry about how to work Word or Excel or PowerPoint. You just want to concentrate on the content of your report. We can provide all sorts of custom functions and ribbon buttons to help you do this.

 

The good thing about a custom Microsoft Office solution is that minimal training is required and there is no additional expensive software or hardware to buy. You already have Microsoft Office installed and people are familiar with it. This helps a great deal with user acceptance and roll-out.

 

We have developed templates for so many different clients across so many different industries. We have encountered so many different examples of the varied and flexible solutions that Microsoft Office applications can offer. We can use this knowledge and experience to offer the best solution for you.

Why us?

 

Why not create templates yourself or ask your designer to create templates for you?

 

If you think you have enough technical knowledge of Word or PowerPoint maybe you think you could develop templates yourself. Or maybe your designer could create templates for you. After all Word and PowerPoint are fairly easy and intuitive to use aren’t they? Yes they are but to create templates that other people can use easily and for those templates to work reliably every time takes a lot of expertise and a great deal of experience.

 

We spend a lot of time recreating templates that have been previously developed by people who have a good knowledge of Word and PowerPoint but not quite the expertise to produce robust templates that work consistently for everyone including people who may not be that technically minded.

 

Common problems with inadequately developed templates

 

  • Compatibility with other versions of Microsoft Office. Each new version of Office has introduced new features. If a template has been set up using the newest features, it may not work on an older version of Office. Word 2013 introduced a new layout engine; sometimes a logo or a table might be incorrectly positioned in a different version of Word. Mac versions of Word and PowerPoint have particular compatibility issues with Windows/PC versions of Word and PowerPoint. Templates developed on a Mac could look quite different on a PC and vice versa.

 

  • Spellcheck language. Have you checked the spellcheck language for each heading or paragraph in a Word document; or each paragraph or slide in a PowerPoint presentation? The default language for Word and PowerPoint is often US English. If the default setting hasn’t been changed to your language, your spelling and grammar check won’t work properly. You may think that if your PC is set to your language, that should override your Microsoft Office settings but that isn’t always the case.

 

  • Fonts. Does the template use a standard font or a special font? If the font is not installed on your computer or the computer of anyone else who will open the document or presentation, Word and PowerPoint will substitute the font for a font that is installed. You have no control over what font will be used in the substitution. Therefore your document or presentation could look quite different on another computer. Macs and Mac versions of Office have different standard fonts to PCs and PC versions of Office so a template developed on a Mac could be using a font that is not standard on a PC.

 

  • Continuation pages.  If the Word document has been set up as a one-page template, e.g. for a letterhead, what happens when you add some more text and the document adds another page? Does it have the same headers and footers as the first page? Did you want different headers and footers? Did you want to include page numbers? Continuation pages aren’t always included in templates.

 

  • Unreliable numbering. If your Word document contains numbered headings, is the numbering reliable? Does each heading’s number always follow on from the previous number? Is the indenting of the number or the continuation lines consistent? What happens when the automatic numbering gets to double figures, e.g. on heading 10; is the indenting still correct? Or has the additional figure pushed the heading text too far away from the heading number? If the automatic numbering continues for subheadings or paragraphs or table or figure headings, are these consistently numbered and indented?

 

  • Text boxes or images jump around the page. Do text boxes and images jump around the page or jump to a different page unexpectedly? Do images stay in the same position on PowerPoint slides? Or are they in a slightly different position on each slide?

 

  • Inconsistent formatting. Have styles for headings and paragraphs been set up in the Word template? Formatting headings and paragraphs with styles is by far the most efficient way of using Word and ensures consistency. Applying formatting directly to headings and paragraphs will cause many more problems. A template should have the main styles you will need set up in it.

 

  • Paragraph spacing. Has paragraph spacing been set up in the Word styles? You should always set the spacing between paragraphs or before and after headings in the style. Separating paragraphs with a blank paragraph, i.e. pressing the return or enter key is bad practice. You will end up with inconsistent spacing and won’t be able to make use of some of Word’s features like keep with next which ensures a paragraph won’t be separated from the previous paragraph by a page break.

 

  • Styles automatically updating. The default setting on a lot of Word styles is to automatically update the style if you change the formatting of a paragraph. But this can cause a lot of problems. For example, you might change the colour of the font in a particular paragraph to red. If other paragraphs have the same style applied to them, they will also change to a red font. That’s probably not what you wanted and will take you ages to try and fix.

 

  • New PowerPoint slides. What happens when you insert a new slide in a PowerPoint presentation? Does it have the correct formatting with the correct background colour or image? Is the logo correctly positioned? Are the text placeholders consistently positioned and do they provide the right size font and colour of bullets?

 

  • PowerPoint colours. Does your PowerPoint template contain your corporate colour palette. If you add a graph or a shape or a diagram does it use the colours from your colour palette?

 

These are some of the many problems we have come across in inadequately developed templates. These are all problems we know to avoid in the templates we develop.

"Excellent. A very professional, personable and considered approach. Nothing was a problem and the project was fulfilled within the urgent timeframe. It was so good to work with a professional with such knowledge of the product."

Melanie Fischer, Director, MGA Advertising.

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