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Template Option for Documents Stored on NetDocuments

We just migrated from DOCs OPEN and under that system, there was a very useful feature whereby you could mark a document as a template in the DMS and when anyone attempted to open it, a dialog would pop up asking if they wanted to "Use the Template" or "Edit the Template".    If you answered "Use the Template" a copy of the template document was opened and could only be saved as a new document.  If you answered "Edit the Template" the template itself was opened for editing.  Rights for who could edit the template document could also be set.  For Word documents, there was no need to even save the file as a template (.dot) file because the DMS handled the whole process.

As far as I can tell, the only workaround for this feature in NetDocuments (at least for Word documents) is to open and re-save each template document as an actual MS Word template file (.dot).  This will force a copy to be opened when you access the file in NetDocuments (with BTW no notice from NetDocuments that a copy is being created - I would also like NetDocuments to let me know when I'm getting a copy and not the original document).  However, in order to actually edit the template itself I believe you would have to download it, edit it and then upload it back to NetDocuments overwriting the previous copy or saving it as a new version of the previous template document - a much more cumbersome process and requiring the conversion to the .dot file format (which may or may not be available for all types of files).  We experimented with using rights to restrict access, but found this to be unsatisfactory because NetDocuments simply ignored any attempt to access the documents with no type of error message, leaving the user in the dark as to why they couldn't access the document and often thinking that the interface had frozen (another suggestion would be to provide a notice if access to a document is denied for insufficient rights rather than just leaving the user hanging wondering why nothing  is happening when the click on a link to a document).

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Terry,

The last part of your comment does not sound like expected behavior.  If a user does not have any access to a document they will not see it at all.  If they only have View rights, when they open the document it will open in Read-Only mode.  Most firms will accomplish this by granting all users V only rights to the Template so that they cannot change it, and the users they need to be able to edit the template they will give at least VE rights.  I am also not sure what you mean when you say that the .dot files are opening up as copies and not the original document.  Can you clarify?

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Would be really nice to mark a doc as a template and force the user to to make an active decision.  Great functionality.

To Dan's question, I think the answer is that the user with rights to edit the template would be able to do that OR save as a new doc while a normal user would only be able to save the template as a new, non template document.  Truthfully though, that is more complex then we would need, if netdocs just forced the user to decide to edit the template or to create a new document based on teh template, that would be enough for us and a huge help!

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Danny - that's exactly the functionality we would like to see.  Usually the document's author will have rights to change the template and thus is not prompted to save it as a new document, and the author is often a big user of the templates as well, so it leads to situations where templates are being overwritten because the author forgets to save as a new document before making edits.  The old DOCSOpen template switch made this a simple matter, just check the box in the profile when you saved the document and you had to affirmatively elect to edit the template or save the document as a new document.  It also made it very convenient to search for standard templates since you could search on that field.  This lack in NetDocuments has caused our departments that rely heavily on templates quite a bit of consternation.  The only work-around we've come up with is to have the administrator take away the author's right to edit the template document, then as you say, when you open it your only option is to save it as a new document.  If the author wants to edit the template, the administrator has to manually give them back edit rights and then remove them again after the document has been edited - a truly cumbersome process.

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Our current workaround is to Lock the Official Version, and give non-editors only View access.

View access users automatically get a read-only copy when they click on it, they never see that the doc is locked

Edit access users are given the prompt "This is locked, create new version or take out a copy"

The drawback is that when there are lots of minor edits, a version number climbs through the roof. It does however give the editors the option to comment on what they've done to that version and gives us the ability to roll back to a previously edited version easily too.

This is a workaround, having a Template option which does similar without creating dozens of versions would be even more handy.

 

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Hi Darren,

Is there a reason that you lock the version?  If it wasn't locked, then people with Edit rights could make edits without having to create a new version but the users with V only rights still would not be able to make edits to it.

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Darren,

Thanks for your comment - that's exactly the sort of workaround we were looking for.  I hadn't thought of locking the document for the people with editor rights, who tend to be the heavy users of the templates and the most likely to inadvertently overwrite the original template.  We'll be implementing this workaround right away.

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Dan,

The reason we lock it is that no one, not even those with edit rights can accidentally check the document out and make changes. The lock presents them with a choice, read-only or make new version and work on that.

Beleive it or not, the best procedures in the world are easily defeated by user inattentiveness, resulting in templates being accidentally edited. ;)

Currently we must rely on editors remembering to lock their new version. From experience, this will be forgotten.

Ideally, there would be a mechanism to mimic this behaviour without needing to have potentially dozens of locked versions, though having a quick and easy "rollback" does have its appeal.

Even if it just promted an editor (and never a viewer obviously) "This document is marked as a Template. Please click yes to confirm you wish to edit the precedent"

 

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