The latest verison (v2.0) of my Word add-in is now available

The what?

I have been developing a Word add-in called Mike’s Toolbox for the last 2.5 years within my spare time: some of it at work, some of it at home. It started out life as a small collection of macros (without any proper GUI) that would fix a number of particular annoyances that kept cropping up in documents where I work.

It is a tool for technical authors, proofreaders or those who would class themselves as ‘power’ Word users. Within the toolbox are lots of features designed to help you fix / improve any Word document. If you know of anyone else who could use this toolbox, please pass on the information about this new release.

I do not charge for this add-in, nor the full source code which I also give away with each new major version.

However, it’s not a tool that will help you create content, nor generate fancy templates. There are other add-ins out there that do that for your Word documents.

New website

Part of this release is to announce that my new website is available. I have moved everything across from the old Weebly-hosted site to the new one – my own proper domain, at last!

The full release of the add-in, including the manual can be found on the new site. Also included is the full VBA source code as a separate download for those that find this side of things interesting.

I couldn’t find a tool that would extract all the blog entries from Weebly and then import them into WordPress – so it had to be done by hand. One blog post at a time 🙁

The new site can be found here: www.mikestoolbox.co.uk.

New version

I’ve upped the version number to v2.0 for this release. This is partly to introduce the new website and partly to enable a better numbering scheme for my forthcoming beta versions.

What’s new?

  • The About box now points to the new website. All traces of the Weebly-hosted site have been removed from the code and the manual.
  • Added ‘Delete TOCs’ and ‘Delete Indexes’ options to the Fields Inspector function. As part of this GUI alteration, I’ve moved the Delete fields option into a new frame called ‘Delete Options’. The old frame has been renamed to ‘Field Tweaks’.
  • A request came from work colleagues for the Fix Footer option to include a facility to insert the SharePoint version number. I.e. A document is checked out and therefore it has its own internal SharePoint revision number. This number is placed into the footer instead of the contents of the Comments or Subject fields as per previous versions of my toolbox.
  • When the document is checked back in, the version number will automatically be increased by a major and/or major/minor version number by SharePoint. This saves the current document editor the task of doing it themselves.
  • In order to make room for the new Content Type functions on the Footer tab, I’ve had to do some GUI rearranging. I had to increase the size of the whole Toolbox form by about 20 pixels. This meant all of the other tabs needed some tweaks to spread them out a bit to fill the gap created, but it will mean larger list boxes on display. The changes to the Footer tab are as follows:

a) Renamed the tab from ‘Footer / Information’ to be ‘Footer / Back To Basics’ – as there’s no information included on there, just footer and back to basic tools.

b) Removed the Refresh button as all of the functions automatically refresh the display after they have completed their task.

c) Moved the ‘Odd/Even Header/Footer’ Swap option to the bottom of the form.

d) Moved the Back To Basics to be in a single line and also now at the bottom of the form.

e) Moved all of the tweaks that are possible with the Fix Footer into the one frame.

f) Moved the Fix Footer’s status outside of the tweaks area, along with the Fix Footer button and that is now larger and in red too.

g) I also added the Please Wait form to the Fix Footer function when there are more than 5 sections in the document. I will investigate where else I can place this so that you are aware of when fixes are taking place and don’t think that the Toolbox, or Word, has crashed.

  • As part of my long-awaited list of To Dos, I’ve started adding in the section type to some of the functions. First off is the Field Inspector which now displays the section type in brackets after each of the field’s content.
  • Did some shrinking of buttons within the Table Inspector toggles frame and made enough room to add a new function to toggle table borders on/off.
  • However, this doesn’t allow you to customise which of the borders are on/off, it’s just a simple on/off per selected table.
  • Removed the refresh buttons from both Endnotes and Footnotes forms. Added ‘Update’ buttons to both the Numbering Rule and Numbering Style combo boxes on both forms too. All as a result of finding that the code that updates the listbox was being called multiple times in the previous releases. The Convert and Delete buttons have been laid along the same horizontal line too.
  • Added a simple display option for any Building Blocks found inside a Word template file. It’s a ‘no thrills’ option which I hope to improve over time.
  • Removed the Read-Only/Read-Write status check that appeared underneath the main Toolbox form. The read-write status of the current document is now done, as per all the other Inspector tools, prior to launching the function. This enabled me to remove about 15 different checks of the status that were inside the main Toolbox’s code.

That’s all that’s new. More details will be in the manual.

What’s been fixed?

  • A bug was found in the Field Inspector when I added an index to the manual – mainly because I’d never created/used indexes in a Word document before. The Field Inspector had made some assumptions about index entries and that’s now been fixed.
  • Fixed an odd bug in the Endnotes/Footnotes code that created the listbox. For some reason I was calling the routine to populate the list box three times in a row due to the use of ‘_Change’ event each time. So, for example, if there were 4 endnotes found, they were being listed as 12. The four endnotes and 8 blank entries. Bug quashed!
  • The Section, Field and Table Inspectors weren’t checking if multiple documents were open. They do now.
  • I’d not included a description in this manual to cover the Odd/Even Header/Footer option in the Footer / Back To Basics tab. Oops!

That’s the list of bug fixes that were hanging over from the previous version.

Optimisations!

I have learned a lot about optimising my VBA code during the update from the previous version (v1.89) to this new version. So much so that some of it will feature in my next article for the ISTC magazine, Communicator.

To save boring you with examples of code, all of the optimisations can be found in the Change History section of the manual.

All in all, the optimisations have helped to shrink the add-in down by quite a margin. The v2.0 of this add-in is now smaller than the previous release (v1.89) but includes new features, along with the bug fixes. The VBA source code is shorter too, by almost 400 lines of code/comments and line spacing.

Site updated ready for v2.0’s release!

I’ve updated most of the pages with the latest screenshots. I had to install yet another WordPress plugin as, annoyingly, if you want to replace an existing screenshot you have to upload a fresh one, delete the old one then rename the new one and then it should (!) appear on the page.

Or you can install the Enable Media Replace plugin which will allow you to upload (one-at-a-time) the replacement images and it does all of the work for you. Which is much easier.

The download and source code pages will be made available tomorrow and there will be the usual links appearing on here, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve almost finished the announcement article on LinkedIn and that will be made live tomorrow too.

This version might not be a massive update, but it’s:

a) smaller due to the optimisation

b) has some bug fixes

c) has a few extra features.

Have fun!

Oddities with DropBox link

The other day I copied over a new beta copy of the Toolbox onto my DropBox account at home. Nothing strange about that.

However, several people pointed out to me that the link didn’t work. This link has pointed to my .DOTM file for some considerable time, but for some reason it’s now altered.

This meant that I’ve had to change my Beta page links and alert the ISTC forum that the download link has altered. Not a major PITA, but still an annoyance.

Oddly enough, the GoogleDrive links are working fine and haven’t altered at all. Very strange.

More code optimisations and a new beta available (v2.0 preview)

As my first official post on this new official website for my add-in, it might be a lengthy one 🙂

Code optimisation(s):

There are several that I’ve discovered, including a variant of the ‘IF’ command that I didn’t know existed.

First

There’s the condensation of a line of code. I’ve done this before in previous “how can I shrink the code” runs, but due to some “copy & paste coding”, I’d got lazy and had forgotten that I should be doing this.

My Old Code:
CheckProtection
If blnProtected = True Then
 Exit Sub
End If
The New Code:
CheckProtection
If blnProtected = True Then Exit Sub

That’s three lines of code into one.

Second

This is the new IIF function that I never knew existed in VBA. It is very similar to the IF function that can be used in Excel formulae in that you store a result from a test, based on whether the answer is true or false. I do a *lot* of these kinds of tests in my code, mostly within the generation of the list box contents for the various Inspector-type tools.

My Old Code:
If .Rows.WrapAroundText = True Then
 strWrapAround = "Y"
Else
 strWrapAround = "N"
End If
The New Code:
strWrapAround = IIf(.Rows.WrapAroundText = True, "Y", "N")

That’s five lines of code into a single one. That’s going to help shave quite a few kilobytes off the size of the final release of v2.0 when I’ve gone through the code and fixed them all.

New beta:

There is a new beta available (v2.0 preview) which can be downloaded via the DropBox links on the Beta page. I completely forgot to update the GoogleDrive links, but I will fix that tonight. This will be the version which will have some, but not all of the code optimisations as mentioned above. All being well, there will be a noticeable difference in the size of the release version, compared to this beta.

Download, install and let me know via the Trello board if there are any changes needed.

All blog articles up to December 2015 have been transferred

This is slow, dull and boring work, but it must be done.

First, I have to copy each article (in batches of a month’s worth) into a separate Word document. Then reformat the text so that it won’t look odd when it’s pasted into WordPress.

For each post (i.e. there will be multiple per Word document) that’s converted into a post on here, I have to check if there are any images linked to it. If so, they must be saved off from the Word document, then uploaded as individual images before they can be attached to each post.

Each new post created has to be back-dated and the various categories ticked so that it’s easier for visitors to filter on the ones they prefer.

And all because there’s no simple way to bulk import 2+ years’ of blog posts from Weebly into WordPress.

 

Only the posts from the Weebly site from 2016 now remain .. zzzzzzzzzzzz