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Structured Documents

Structured Documents let you create documents on-line and also share the workload of writing the contents. You can assign users as editors to write parts and assign other users as approvers to check the contents. Once the document has been completed you can export it in a variety of formats and other users can view and navigate through the document on-line.

A structured document is made up of component parts and can be structured in any way you like. The core building blocks are:

  • Sections - structure of the document (eg. headings, chapters, sections etc.)
  • Contents - content of the document. You can add one or more of these in a section
  • Tables of Contents - lists of specific types of parts (eg. headings, figures, tables, etc.)
  • Question Sets - embedded questions from a questionnaire

Creating a Structured Document

A structured document is created on-line, with a name and optional description. You can either import a Microsoft Word document as your content, or you can manually add parts to build the structure.

Importing a Microsoft Word Document

If you have an existing Microsoft Word document (supported file-types are doc,docx,docm) you can import that into your structured document. If your original Word document is well structured (i.e. it uses the correct Heading styles) then that structure will be replicated in the structured document. If not, you can import your document and ignore any structure and it will create a flat structured document that you can then restructure by inserting new sections and moving parts around.

If the Word document contains images, they will be automatically imported and added to the structured document. Note that some images may not be imported from earlier versions of Microsoft Word and may have to be added manually.

Manually Building the Document Structure

If your supports JavaScript, you can build the structured document by dynamically adding new parts and renaming or deleting existing parts. You can also move parts around using the drag-and-drop interface to alter the existing structure. Once you're happy with the structure, you can save your changes. If you need to make further changes to the structure, click on the Add new parts or re-arrange the structured document action item. If your browser does not support JavaScript then you can add individual parts separately. The structure and layout is created by adding sections, and these can then be filled out with contents. You can add one or more tables of contents to list and organize your contents.

On the Manage the Structured Document page, the structure is shown in the left-hand panel. When you initially view this page the right-hand table shows a list of all of the parts in the structured document together with action icons allowing you to modify or delete those parts. When you select a specific part in the left-hand structure hierarchy the right-hand panel changes to show you information specific to that part. It shows you any available content and allows to edit that content. You can also view that part's history ie. the changes that have taken place, when they were made and who made them.

The information in the content parts can be entered and styled using the supplied rich-text editor. You can easily apply heading and other text styles and also embed images and links. Depending upon your site configuration, you may also be able to apply custom styles to format selected parts using the "Apply Custom Formatting" button in the rich-text editor. In a Local Development Framework (LDF) document, for example, you can format selected blocks as "Policy", or "Site" or "Map" etc. You can then add a table of contents to list all the policies, or sites etc. You can also add footnotes and page-breaks.

Once you have completed your structured document, you can publish it to make it available for viewing. When you publish your structured document you can use "automatic numbering" to ensure that you have a consistent numbering scheme for the parts of your document. If you use automatic numbering it will replace any "label" text that you have entered for any part. You can specify the numbering style and also any text to apply before and / or after the number. You can also specify whether or not to include the parent hierarchy in the numbering scheme (eg. 2.1.4).

Deleting a Structured Document

To delete a structured document you must first ensure that it does not have any parts or content. If it does, these can easily be removed by clicking on the Add new parts or re-arrange the structured document action item and then removing all parts using "delete all parts" option in the popup-menu. Once the structured document is empty, you can click on the Delete this structured document action item to delete it.

Other Information

One or more items (eg. files, pictures etc.) may also be associated with an individual structured document, if related items are enabled for that structured document. This is done by adding a new Related Item to the structured document. These related items are then also visible to other group members, when they view that structured document, in the "Related Items" section.

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