The word template functionality in Microsoft Dynamics GP is pretty awesome. Word templates make it really easy to update the look and feel of your customer facing documents, and you can email them directly out of Dynamics GP. You can even have separate document types for different companies and customers. All this sounds great… right? Word templates are great, once they are setup and fully functioning. However, getting them to that point can be frustrating if you are not willing to put in the time and effort to make them what you need them to be.
I have found several things that can trip you up when working with word templates in Dynamics GP. Top among them are security settings and report settings. Before starting, you will need to know which users will need access to use and edit the templates. It is also important to know whether the current documents are the original or modified versions of the report from Report Writer. Below I have listed the main pitfalls I have seen while developing word templates, and what I have found that works to avoid the pain that they can cause.
First Step: Install and Configure Word Templates
The first step to setting up and configuring Word Templates in Dynamics GP is to make sure the Microsoft Dynamics GP Add-in for Microsoft Word is installed. This will need to be installed both in GP and in Microsoft Word. This is something your system engineer or hosting provider will need to do. Word Templates are included in GP, but they are not installed.
Next: Configure Security Settings
After all the add-ins have been installed, the next thing to setup are the security settings in GP. By default, only power users will have access to any of the Word Template editing or emailing functionality. What I have found works best is to create two Tasks and Roles: one for general Word Template Users, and one for Word Template Editors. This way you can just add these roles to your users, rather than trying to add the tasks to existing roles. This also makes it easy to take rights away if necessary. Here are my recommended configurations for the two Tasks and Roles:
Task ID: Word Template Use, has the following windows selected:
- Customer Maintenance
- Receivables E-mail Detail Entry
- Receivables E-mail Detail Inquiry Zoom
- Sales E-mail Detail Entry
- Sales E-mail Detail Inquiry Zoom
- Purchasing E-mail Detail Entry
- Purchasing E-mail Detail Inquiry Zoom
- Internet Information
- Message Setup (This you may want to restrict to an editor user)
Task ID: Word Template Editor, has the following windows selected:
- Report Template Maintenance
- Template Configuration Manager
- Sales E-mail Setup
- Purchasing E-mail Setup
- Company E-mail Setup
Role ID: Word Template User, has the Task ID Word Template User selected.
Role ID: Word Template Editor, has the Task IDs Word Template User and Word Template Editor selected.
After the security is setup, you will need to enable the templates in Dynamics GP. This is done in the Template Configuration Window. In this window you will need to mark next to the companies and the document types you will want to be able to use as Word Templates and email out of GP. You will also want to mark the box next to “Allow printing of standard report when template is available.” Once these are enabled, when one of the document types is printed, the default document type to print will be Template. Until you are done modifying the templates your users will need to select Standard when printing.
It is important to know whether the original or modified version of the report is being used when printing the document. This information is in the alternate/modified forms window in Administration. The version that is currently being used is the version you will want to select for your template. The Template Maintenance window is where you select, modify and assign the templates. It is also important to make sure to enable and select templates for the historical versions of the reports. These are the versions of the reports that are printed when looking up the documents from Inquiry.
Modifying the word templates can be simple or complicated, depending on the level of customization desired for the finished document. While modifying the report, it is important to make sure all the desired fields are in the document, and that the information comes through correctly when printed. This may take some testing to make sure the correct fields are selected, and they are in the correct place, as this is more specific in the word templates than in Report Writer.
After the fields are working correctly, it comes down to making sure the fields are the correct size and in the desired place. This can be fun (and frustrating), as the word templates are based on nested tables. If you haven’t worked with nested tables before, be prepared to spend some time working with the fields to make them the desired size. What I have found works the best, but does take time, is to click into each field and modify the width (and if necessary, height) for the field. This way you can make sure fields line up and are the same size. You can try moving the table lines, but this may not work because of the nature of nested tables. This will also affect any borders you may want on fields or sections, because the actual border may not be exactly where expected.
The best advice I can give when customizing word templates is to have patience and be willing to spend time developing them. It is also important to save often, and I recommend saving a new version of the document each time you make a major change. This way you can go back to a version of the template and restart from there if necessary.
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