• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 2. The WordprocessingML Vocabulary > Tips for Learning WordprocessingML

2.2. Tips for Learning WordprocessingML

Learning WordprocessingML—particularly how Word behaves when it encounters various markup constructs—is an iterative process. You go back and forth between the text editor and the Word application, closing the document in Word so you can make changes to it elsewhere, and then re-opening it to see what effects those changes have. You make hypotheses and you test them. Anything you can do to speed up the iterations of this process will help. Below are several pieces of advice to consider as you begin this educational journey.


Since Microsoft has released fairly limited documentation of WordprocessingML so far, it is often best to learn through experimentation. Create a document in Word that uses various formatting features you are interested in. Save the document as XML. Then, investigate the WordprocessingML for the document, making note of how various document structures are represented as XML. Internet Explorer can be a good tool for viewing WordprocessingML documents. (See the sidebar "Using Internet Explorer to Inspect WordprocessingML Documents.")

Don't try to learn everything

This tip offsets the first one. It is sometimes possible to get hung up on particular theoretical questions or problems when experimenting with WordprocessingML. But if you want to remain productive, you should be prepared to suspend understanding at various turns in your investigation. The beauty of WordprocessingML is that you can accomplish quite a lot without understanding everything in the markup. For example, to create a stylesheet that generates WordprocessingML documents, you would only need to prepare the document in Word itself, save it as XML, and then copy and paste the bulk of it into your stylesheet, zeroing in on only the elements that contain dynamic content.

Use the Reveal Formatting task pane

Word's Reveal Formatting task pane (press Shift-F1) provides a very helpful intermediate view of formatting properties between the WordprocessingML itself and how the document actually looks. Moreover, if you check the "Distinguish style source" checkbox (at the bottom of the task pane), it will identify the source of specific formatting properties, distinguishing between those that are defined in a style and those that are applied as direct formatting. This chapter includes some example screen shots that use the Reveal Formatting task pane.

Use the XML Toolbox

The XML Toolbox was quietly released by Microsoft as a plug-in for Word. It is Word's equivalent of View Source, and it is a godsend. It lets you view the underlying WordprocessingML for a document or selection right from within Word. You can also manually insert WordprocessingML, using the "Insert XML" dialog, shown in Figure 2-2. Ultimately, it is not a substitute for saving as XML, as it leaves out some things (such as document metadata and spelling errors). One caveat is that the XML Toolbox plug-in requires .NET Programmability support. This means that the .NET Framework 1.1 must have been installed prior to the Office 2003 installation. Get and read about this plug-in at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dnofftalk/html/odc_office01012004.asp



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint