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Hi all:

A friend of mine writes datasheets and user manuals for many similar devices with Microsoft Word 2010. Many sections (legalese, company logo, some device features) are exactly the same across many documents.

Maintaining so many copies of the same text is a pain. If you want to fix or enhance something, you have to manually update many copies in many documents. Just to clarify: these are not just short database fields, but complete text sections with subsections, full formatting, etc.

He has recently learnt about Microsoft Word's {INCLUDETEXT} field. By pressing F9 (Update Fields), he can update all imported sections in a document at once.

This mechanism has its limitations. He cannot update all documents at once. And, although some sections are almost exact copies, some of them mention the device's model number, which is different in each document.

Perhaps the most severe limitation is that he cannot update styles across documents at once. If the marketing department decides that all section titles should be blue, he has no way to change them all automatically.

What he really needs is some sort of automatic templating system that can generate or update many documents at once.

I would like for him to move to LibreOffice. But Writer has no such {INCLUDETEXT} feature, right?

What would be the best way to knock such system together with LibreOffice? I can write a few scripts or Makefiles if necessary.

My friend is no programmer, and he is not willing to learn some markup language like AsciiDoc in order to write the documentation. Besides, other colleagues contribute some text every now and then. They all know how to use a word processor, but it would not be realistic that all of them get familiar with something like AsciiDoc.

Thanks in advance,
  R. Diez

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