Working With Multiple Documents
Don Bradbury takes a look at some things you can do using batch processing
Many common applications will let you open more than one file at a time. Having multiple files open can facilitate several common operations, not least when you want to transfer data from one file to another without having to pop the relevant items into a multi-clip buffer such as Clipmate, and paste each clip into the other file.
Say you have two Word documents; the first contains many items that you need in the second, and to save typing them all in again, you simply want to transfer the selected items over to the other file.
First, open Word, then select the File/Open dialogue from its menus in the usual way, point to the first filename and click to select it. Hold down the Ctrl key, point to the second file, and click on that. Select Open and two copies of Word will start, each containing one of your two files. Reduce the size of the word processor's window in each example, and adjust the two windows until one fills the top half of the screen and the second fills the lower half.
Copy or Move
Now you can mark any paragraphs, sentences, or parts thereof in one file and simply drag them to the relevant position in the other file's window. That will move each item.
If you want to preserve the first file in its initial form, you have the choice of either copying (as opposed to moving) each item, by holding down the Ctrl key while you drag them, or clicking on 'No' when you exit the file and are asked if you want to resave that file. Click on 'Yes' when you exit the second file if you want to save the modifications.
You can do much the same sort of thing in Excel or other spreadsheet.s Remember, in this case you are moving or copying to cells rather than lines. You may have one spreadsheet that is a template for others that are to be created later and need to build on the template.
Carefully mark the areas that are to be common to both worksheets before dragging each of them in turn. To be certain of preserving the integrity of the template, you could mark it as read-only so that no changes can be made inadvertently. You can do that by finding the file in Windows Explorer, right clicking on it, selecting Properties and then the General tab, and checking the read-only box. If, later, you need to modify the template itself, then undo the read-only attribute.
When it comes to printing several files, batch processing can save you a lot of PC attendance. Simply locate the files to be printed (in the File/Open dialogue or Windows Explorer), mark them as described, make sure the printer has plenty of paper and ink, and click on Print. While that is progressed automatically, take a well deserved break.