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davidg

Corporate Word Templates

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Just had an email from a client:

document looks great, before we send it out can you put it into our corporate template?

No problems I think

client sends over template. 1.2 MB, which seems a bit bulky

I open it up and immediately I hear the CPU fan start to turn, what I see is a document with images in the header, footer and background with lots of lines in different fonts and colours: Heading 1, Heading 2 etc.

Not really my taste but still, what client wants, client gets

client comments: we had a graphic designer work on this, pretty isn't it?

I wonder if the designer is the MD's 3 year old daughter.

I apply template to my document, nothing changes. Hmmm. I look at the various heading text in the client document. In fact the template contains no structure just pretty formatted lines of text. I ask the client how they use the document. "oh we just type where the text is on the screen".

I ask about the structure.

"Structure? not sure I follow."

You know, like say a book would have say, a table of contents, chapters, chapter headings, maybe sub headings etc.

"Oh we've got those in our document, didn't you read the text"

Ok, I take a deep breath. How do you generate a table of contents?

"Simple, we just cut and paste the headiings to the front of the document and write in the page numbers".

Facepalm time.

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The only reason I get paid handsomely for pretty basic work - is because so many people are so bad at it and ****** up constantly. (Amongst other things)

Welcome useless people - they can be beneficial :)

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Just had an email from a client:

document looks great, before we send it out can you put it into our corporate template?

No problems I think

client sends over template. 1.2 MB, which seems a bit bulky

I open it up and immediately I hear the CPU fan start to turn, what I see is a document with images in the header, footer and background with lots of lines in different fonts and colours: Heading 1, Heading 2 etc.

Not really my taste but still, what client wants, client gets

client comments: we had a graphic designer work on this, pretty isn't it?

I wonder if the designer is the MD's 3 year old daughter.

I apply template to my document, nothing changes. Hmmm. I look at the various heading text in the client document. In fact the template contains no structure just pretty formatted lines of text. I ask the client how they use the document. "oh we just type where the text is on the screen".

I ask about the structure.

"Structure? not sure I follow."

You know, like say a book would have say, a table of contents, chapters, chapter headings, maybe sub headings etc.

"Oh we've got those in our document, didn't you read the text"

Ok, I take a deep breath. How do you generate a table of contents?

"Simple, we just cut and paste the headiings to the front of the document and write in the page numbers".

Facepalm time.

I guarantee most people won't see the issue. Then they'll come out with something like 'word is shit, I always use Google docs'. Now that's a facepalm.

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The only reason I get paid handsomely for pretty basic work - is because so many people are so bad at it and ****** up constantly. (Amongst other things)

Welcome useless people - they can be beneficial :)

Yes, I can see there is a great deal of money to be made out of these folk if you go about it right.

To finish up I applied the client's formattage to my doc using "da paintbrush" as advised by the client. A decade ago I would have explained the issues with his template, but no more.

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Yes, I can see there is a great deal of money to be made out of these folk if you go about it right.

To finish up I applied the client's formattage to my doc using "da paintbrush" as advised by the client. A decade ago I would have explained the issues with his template, but no more.

So how would you suggest going about it right? If there's money to be made out of using Word properly I'm competent enough to be able to do it.

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So how would you suggest going about it right? If there's money to be made out of using Word properly I'm competent enough to be able to do it.

Not specifically word - but that sort of thing. I discussed this on detail here back in 2008 or thereabouts.

Just get involved in the support/pmo type thing in banks etc..

Too late now though I reckon - think the contract market is on its way out slowly.

You do have to work in a bank though :)

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So how would you suggest going about it right? If there's money to be made out of using Word properly I'm competent enough to be able to do it.

Ask CCC. My reaction until recently was to explain why the stuff was done wrong. Wooooshhh!

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Ask CCC. My reaction until recently was to explain why the stuff was done wrong. Wooooshhh!

Well I have managed to earn mostly between £300-£400 per day for the last 9 years - took a year off voluntarily - and had one period of 6 months where I couldnt find work. And all for pretty much organising stuff and just being good with things like Excel and whatever other applications the big boys use that most people can't be bothered to work out how to use properly.

At present got 6 figures saved up. Could have been a lot more but I like to enjoy myself. Trying to think of my next plan though as I really think the contract market for this stuff is going down to more 'realistic' levels over the next few years.

I did tell everyone about this back about 8 years ago. Dont know if anyone actually gave it a go though. The thought of working for the big boys is pretty depressing for most. Its not the worst work in the World though.

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The thought of working for the big boys is pretty depressing for most. Its not the worst work in the World though.

I went to work for the Swiss instead... much the same thing but with a slow sing-song accent.

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I went to work for the Swiss instead... much the same thing but with a slow sing-song accent.

Better skiing too.

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I don't know if it's improved over the years, but Word was always a hugely frustrating program. Some things were almost impossible to fix, because cutting and pasting between documents would paste in all sorts in of unwanted data. In fact the normal.doc, on which templates were based, wasn't standard at all, because it inherited properties from whatever machine first used it.

One place I did some work for threw it out in favour of Framemaker and saved zillions of man hours.

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I always challenge people I work with to think;

"Is this how I think a piece of software is meant to be used?". Examples are "Should I really need to manually change the figure and table numbers of everything when I re-order them, or is there some way a computer might be able to help me with that". I run lunchtime sessions on these things off my own back and over the last couple of years the skill level has gone up a lot. Most of the department can do Pivot Tables and at least understand that there is usually a better and more efficient way to do most things.

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Too late now though I reckon - think the contract market is on its way out slowly.

I hope not. I think I'll be wanting something in a year or so - but can't face going back permie. My niche is ripe for contracting; very peaky and quite specialised. But only a few contractors.

I'd hoped that the divi-tax changes might scare off a few - leaving the field clear for those of us who don't need to milk every tax-free penny or work every day.

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I hope not. I think I'll be wanting something in a year or so - but can't face going back permie. My niche is ripe for contracting; very peaky and quite specialised. But only a few contractors.

I'd hoped that the divi-tax changes might scare off a few - leaving the field clear for those of us who don't need to milk every tax-free penny or work every day.

Just out of interest, what tax changes are they making to dividends? I must admit when I contracted in England I milked the tax advantages until they turned into Camembert!

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I hope not. I think I'll be wanting something in a year or so - but can't face going back permie. My niche is ripe for contracting; very peaky and quite specialised. But only a few contractors.

I'd hoped that the divi-tax changes might scare off a few - leaving the field clear for those of us who don't need to milk every tax-free penny or work every day.

I was thinking more the sort of stuff I do - no particular skills required - for niche stuff there will always be demand and big $$$.

Well until there isn't.

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I was thinking more the sort of stuff I do - no particular skills required - for niche stuff there will always be demand and big $$$.

Well until there isn't.

Which is what? I must be genuinely dense with this stuff. Is it really possible to contract out skills on nothing more than being a power user of office applications?

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Which is what? I must be genuinely dense with this stuff. Is it really possible to contract out skills on nothing more than being a power user of office applications?

I have already stated on this thread :)

So saying the stuff I do takes no skill isn't totally accurate. I just do attention to detail, tracking things etc very very well.

Sounds easy - which it is for me as I am that type of person - but most people are totally useless at it.

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I suspect it is because most people think they can use office products but in reality they can't. This is one of the reason why something like 95% of request for improvements to the product are actually already in the product. I suspect that 98% of users could not structure a documents property. eg I have lost count of the number of times you insert a paragraph in between paras 4 and 5 and get the number of paragraphs as 1 2 3 4 1 5 ... and conditional formatting is like Penn and Teller magic to the average user.

I had a friend who a few years ago was earning a fortune using excel as a consultant at an investment bank .... so yes there is good money to be made.

This is my take on it. People who insert an empty paragraph as a line space and don't understand how to anchor and format images properly then blame word when they can't get stuff to look right.

Office does have its quirks, things that should be simple but aren't, but they're few and far between.

I've been a regular SharePoint user for a couple of years, I often call the so-called SharePoint help desk and end up having to explain why their 'solution' to my problem is total ********. Even the guys who are supposed to know can't use office properly.

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Just out of interest, what tax changes are they making to dividends?

Basically the first £5000 will be tax free then

7.5% for dividend income within the basic rate band

32.5% for dividend income within the higher rate band​

38.1% for dividend income within the additional rate band.

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I had a friend who a few years ago was earning a fortune using excel as a consultant at an investment bank .... so yes there is good money to be made.

Sounds like somewhere I worked where the whole investment strategy for trillions in pension funds was in an Excel spreadsheet one of the traders had developed. I had to produce a Web front end to allow multiple users to access and use this sheet. It was pretty wacky to be honest but they didn't do real time trading but updated the portfolios on the monthly basis and the sheet was used for the rebalancing based on the risk profiles of the funds.

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