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  1. #1
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    Default auto text in Word

    I use plain old Word document to write my reports. I put pics in to illustrate too. I convert to PDF before sending.

    I'm finally getting serious about using the auto text feature to store comments for common problems. What a great feature!

    Do any of you use plain old Word? For those that do, what features have you discovered that you find helpful? Have you learned any good tricks with the auto text feature?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    This is what I use, allows substitutions in ANY windows program and much, much more:

    Asutype's Features Supports Spell Checking and Repetitive Typing

    For example it corrects my spelling as I enter text into photos is Photoshop, lets me enter the same predefined test into Word, Excel, GOOGLE mail and any instant messaging program, etc.

    Best $40 I ever spent on software.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 12-02-2010 at 07:28 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    I use plain old Word document to write my reports. I put pics in to illustrate too. I convert to PDF before sending.

    I'm finally getting serious about using the auto text feature to store comments for common problems. What a great feature!

    Do any of you use plain old Word? For those that do, what features have you discovered that you find helpful? Have you learned any good tricks with the auto text feature?
    John, I use word but not to it's full capabilities.
    I simply have all my canned phrases, diagrams, format, etc. in a document that I open and "save as" a new name each time I write a report. I then delete everything that does not apply or tweak the verbiage and add new comments, photos, etc.
    For a better idea of what is possible, "Inspect It" is a word based product that has drop down boxes, buttons, auto text, etc. I used it for years but decided just to go it alone a few years ago rather than try to continually update and tweak their templates.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Another example:

    If you set up two possible substitutions for "it's':

    "its"

    - and -

    "it's"

    asyoutype will force you to choose between them - no more embarrassing accidental uses of "it's color".

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I simply have all my canned phrases, diagrams, format, etc. in a document that I open and "save as" a new name each time I write a report. I then delete everything that does not apply or tweak the verbiage and add new comments, photos, etc...
    One advantage of this approach is that it greatly increases the likelihood that at a minimum the report will include everything required by the SOP. (I do the same thing in my Homeguage templates, using auto-comments on report creation.)

    But if I was "pruning down" from even a .DOC that included just my most common comments, I would be working from a huge document - my current "basic" Homeguage template is around 95,000 lines long - about 4.5Mb - and I likely use 5-10% in a typical report.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I simply have all my canned phrases, diagrams, format, etc. in a document that I open and "save as" a new name each time I write a report. I then delete everything that does not apply or tweak the verbiage and add new comments, photos, etc.
    Same process for me. I periodically "thin out" the base boilerplate document of infrequently used paragraphs. I also add new boilerplate into the base document if I have a brillant writing moment about something that is likely to occur again in the future. Current base doc is about 50 pages.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    John, I use word but not to it's full capabilities.
    I simply have all my canned phrases, diagrams, format, etc. in a document that I open and "save as" a new name each time I write a report. I then delete everything that does not apply or tweak the verbiage and add new comments, photos, etc.
    For a better idea of what is possible, "Inspect It" is a word based product that has drop down boxes, buttons, auto text, etc. I used it for years but decided just to go it alone a few years ago rather than try to continually update and tweak their templates.
    Jim, do you use auto text? You can type a multi sentence comment such as one about rotten trim and water intrusion. You then assign a prompt, for instance - "trim rot". Whenever you type the words "trim rot" a small window pops up letting you know the comment is ready. Then you just hit enter and it drops in.

    I have a paper checklist that I use to take notes while inspecting. All of my auto text comment prompts are highlighted on my checklist. This reminds me they're available since there is so many to remember. When I find a problem that is relative to a stored comment I just circle the highlighted prompt words on the checklist. When I sit down to write the report I just type the prompt words where appropriate, hit enter and the comments drop in place.

    I also have some stuff built in like you but as Michael says, there's too much to have it all in from the beginning. The most most most often used ones are already in the body of every template. Sometimes I cut them out.

    Last edited by John Dirks Jr; 12-02-2010 at 03:59 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    No, I don't use auto text anymore. It proved more trouble than it was worth for my brain to work with. I don't like hidden things that require me to remember what code, etc. to bring up the appropriate comment. I like having everything visible. I also tend to periodically prune the canned phrases for infrequently used items and add new brilliantly phrased comments. I find that I use canned phrases less and less as I get older. I simply type out what I want to say in the simplest terms possible. For me in terms of writing reports, "less is more".
    I do like the buttons in AHIT inspect-it Texas though so that you never forget to enter a mandatory item like foundation type, water heater size, etc.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    No, I don't use auto text anymore. It proved more trouble than it was worth for my brain to work with. I don't like hidden things that require me to remember what code, etc. to bring up the appropriate comment. I like having everything visible. I also tend to periodically prune the canned phrases for infrequently used items and add new brilliantly phrased comments. I find that I use canned phrases less and less as I get older. I simply type out what I want to say in the simplest terms possible. For me in terms of writing reports, "less is more".
    I do like the buttons in AHIT inspect-it Texas though so that you never forget to enter a mandatory item like foundation type, water heater size, etc.

    I can understand the struggle of trying to remember all the "codes" as you put it. Thats why I have the exact prompt text highlighted on my paper checklist.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Yep, I'm familiar with auto text as I have been using MS Word for years (started out with either '95 or 97), since the "InspectIt" report functioned inside Word. I like the program but I just never was convinced of the ROI of my time to maintain the different parts of the program since I am a one man shop. If I was a multi-inspector company insisting on uniformity across the ranks then dedicating myself to developing the phrases and maintaining everything would be worth it.
    As it is I have everything I commonly use in 32 page document which takes me about 10 seconds per page to highlight and delete unneeded comments before adding anything unique.
    It would take ME much longer to type a phrase and pull up auto text comments. People with different skill sets will respond differently to the dedication required to learn and maintain the program. "I" just use the parts I like and leave the rest hiding in the background

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  11. #11
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I use MS Word also.... I have a separate report template (named "Report Terms") that has all the common issues/problems. I just use it to copy/paste into my current report.

    For most comments that change frequently I just put an xxx in the "report terms" document so if I forget to fill it in the spell checker will pick it up.

    Overall, I very happy with the way it all works. A couple years ago I really got serious about it and put a lot of my comments in. It was a pretty big time investment but has paid off big time.

    I'd say 3/4 of the comments in my reports are something that I pull out of my "terms". A lot of time they need some tweaking but it's at least a place to start.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I've been using Word since version 1.0 for DOS.

    Autotext is great, and if you like that, learn how to use hidden text, outlines, and the organizer.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    The "document view" has been working well to jump from section to section for me when I do use word.

    Using document view I can arrange sections of the report into sections.. ie. HVAC / ROOF etc. I can simply use "styles" to assign Heading 1 or whatever and select depths of items in the document view area.

    I have also found that exporting .pdf 's directly from word with "bookmarks" set up from the menu allows for bookmarks from within the .pdf , for those who use it.

    This may be an elementary thing for some of you... but was new to me... makes it much faster to select working areas if a long report. I still use word from time to time for different things.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    John, you might want to consider a software program called Omniform. I started using Omniform 5.0 about 7 years ago and converted my report into a reusable digital format with drop boxes for regular defects and comments. I got it for $100.00 when I bought it. You can either scan a hardcopy version of your report or import it and let Ominform reformat it. Now you do end up spending a little time reformatting what the program does not catch but in the end, you end up with a reuasable template that you can modify on the fly as needed to make more room for additional comments.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  15. #15
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I've been trying out the ReportPlus software for a few days here, and from what I have read from you post you should be trying this program. It is word based and can store your autotext in categories making it easy to find and insert without having to memorize any codes.

    I also know they are having a Holiday Sale right now. I would give them a call and see about getting a demo. It was very helpful to me.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Someone told me a decent system can be set up using the free software Open Office?


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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Been using this for all my reports and like using it more than Dragon.ActiveWords


  18. #18
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    John, I had a IT professor tell me about what Open Office is. A waste of a program. It has no backbone to it and cannot run 100% like Word. If you are doing basic functions like typing a letter or a paper, thats great. But if you are going to be running a business, invest the money in Word. I've taken a few IT classes about using Microsoft Office myself, and I can tell you with confidence that Word is the way to go. Which is why I looked at InspectIt ReportPlus in the first place. I can do so much in word that openoffice can not.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I am almost laughing that anyone would call inspect it a fine report program.
    It is limited in that it runs off word(stop the press)and if you have a Mac forget it as the software will never work for you.

    Many hardcore computer guys use OO and as an inspector the only reason you might be forced to use Microsoft Office is if you hook up with a draw company that runs macros off excel.
    Other wise you also might wish to check out Google Docs which has expanded what it does and worth another look as it also syncs up with your phone apps.

    Go check out other inspector sites and see if any of the good ones(report samples) are using inspect it.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Hey John been using MSWORD for 10plus year now I do all my termite and Home inspect reports on with it. and i never have any problem with MSWORD. I use a pre set up report that has most of information all set up.

    The best part about MSWORD Is it is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get. ) I don't need to print up the report to see the report and i can correct any problem on the fly or add A photo the size of a full page and place other photos over the full page photo and then install a Infrared Photo over that if I want to make a point. Try that with any other report program.

    Looks like i win..

    I use the drop down normal I just type in what i want to say.

    I think Jerry P. only used MSWORD For all his reports...

    Best

    Ron


  21. #21
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    Hey John been using MSWORD for 10plus year now I do all my termite and Home inspect reports on with it. and i never have any problem with MSWORD. I use a pre set up report that has most of information all set up.

    The best part about MSWORD Is it is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get. ) I don't need to print up the report to see the report and i can correct any problem on the fly or add A photo the size of a full page and place other photos over the full page photo and then install a Infrared Photo over that if I want to make a point. Try that with any other report program.

    Looks like i win..

    I use the drop down normal I just type in what i want to say.

    I think Jerry P. only used MSWORD For all his reports...

    Best

    Ron
    Do you have auto generated summary and text book marks for client navigation?

    Many inspectors take around 100 photos.
    How fast do they load ?
    Word is great if you tailor a small report to your style but I would rather have the report work for me and style it any way I wish.

    With most report software a PDF email link is auto generated and sent to clients and address book is integral to the program.
    Sure we can all be proud that we are able to do a work around with word or excel but we can all build our own furniture and grow our own food to.
    I do not worry about saving a couple bucks when it comes to my business.

    My take is lots of inspectors found a way to create their on report with word in the past but cling tight to it even after better ways of doing it come out.

    Same with pencil and paper checklist reports as many of those guys refuse to change with the times and still fax or snail mail the report.

    Lucky that they have a referral base but it would not fly for those new in the game that need to get in with superior product.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I have look at just about every program on the market. I like Dom's the best.

    But his program has its limits. I can load 400 photos or more in a flash.

    In MSWORD I can do what others can't and that's WYSIWYG. If Dom. could get that going he would be # 1. if he's is not already.

    Its all good what every works for you. that you should do.

    Me i like large 1/2 or full page photos in my reports sometimes. 1 photo can say more then you can type out. My clients like to see the detail of a sub-structure problem.

    See the attachment. can you do that with your program ? ROOF LEAK IN CEILING.pdf

    MSWORD works for me...

    Best

    Ron


  23. #23
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Sorry for the tough love.
    I get passionate about subjects and do not mean to come off as gruff Ron.
    When it comes to picture load speed HIP is the fastest there is however and actually the picture size sure seems fine to me.
    You guys be the judge and let me add the link will stay good automatically for 5 years minimum where this PDF was uploaded to on HIP.
    Home Inspection Software - Home Inspector Pro


  24. #24
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I use Word and have tried many of the capabilities including Autotext. I, like Jim Luttrall, have found the "features" to be too much trouble. My master report file is a blank TREC form in a Word document that I save to a new name for each report. I create the content for each report from scratch. In my experience, I am producing reports as rapidly as I have with any of Word's gadgets or with any commercial software.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  25. #25
    sam sanders's Avatar
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I hate depending on a report software company (yearly dues, they may sell company, crappy service, etc.) but am not computer savy enough to write a report program. Only thing is , In Tucson, all realtors expect summary reports. Is it possible to generate summary reports with MSWord programs?
    Sam


  26. #26
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by sam sanders View Post
    I hate depending on a report software company (yearly dues, they may sell company, crappy service, etc.) but am not computer savy enough to write a report program. Only thing is , In Tucson, all realtors expect summary reports. Is it possible to generate summary reports with MSWord programs?
    Sam
    Dom has no yearly dues or fees Sam.It is possible a large company such as Home Gauge or HIP could go out of business but you should always have a back up program just in case.

    Keep your comments and system/component tabs separate from any program so you can always transfer them if emergency takes place.

    No different from your computer files as you should have them stored outside your computer for back up as well.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Sam,

    You can create summaries in Word... You'll create basically a custom Table of Contents... and go from there.

    I've only tinkered around with it, but have had a small amount of success between creating "Styles" and custom Table of Contents Documents to pick up the rules created.

    I'm not though, a true Word "Guru", hopefully others will chime in and help you a bit more, or you can do some research as well. I have done this in Word 07...


  28. #28
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by sam sanders View Post
    I hate depending on a report software company (yearly dues, they may sell company, crappy service, etc.) but am not computer savy enough to write a report program. Only thing is , In Tucson, all realtors expect summary reports. Is it possible to generate summary reports with MSWord programs?
    Sam

    Yes just give them your report and call it a summary report.

    Best

    Ron

    P.S. I don't give out summary reports. Run your company your way not as some agent wants.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    John, Ron & Tiim. You guys are constantly helping out others (and me) here and on other boards. It drives me nuts to see guys using Word still. If you'd like it, I have a free copy of Home Inspector Pro for each of you.

    As you know the program is constantly being updated based on what the inspectors vote on during discussions on our boards and the three of you would be welcome additions to this group.

    Happy New Year

    Last edited by Dominic Maricic; 01-03-2011 at 12:23 AM.
    Home Inspector Pro - Home Inspection Software & Home Inspection Website Hosting
    Runs on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone & iPad. Import HomeGauge, 3D & InspectVue Narratives!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Thanks Dominic! I'll take ya up on that!

    I'll still help where I can...


  31. #31
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    I figured You've played around with it off and on long enough. I'll send you an email in a bit. I'm swamped from the last bit of our holiday sale. Trying to catch up.

    Home Inspector Pro - Home Inspection Software & Home Inspection Website Hosting
    Runs on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone & iPad. Import HomeGauge, 3D & InspectVue Narratives!

  32. #32
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    OK Dom how can i say no to that offer...

    email me a ronbibler@gmail.com

    Best

    Ron


  33. #33
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    Default Re: auto text in Word

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    OK Dom how can i say no to that offer...

    email me a ronbibler@gmail.com

    Best

    Ron
    Email sent!

    Home Inspector Pro - Home Inspection Software & Home Inspection Website Hosting
    Runs on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone & iPad. Import HomeGauge, 3D & InspectVue Narratives!

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