Diary outlines

Brass Contributor

I have scans of the diaries of my mother (1930-2004), her mother (1900-1977) and my father's father (1891-1965).

So that's about 1000 months for each.

Each month has up to 31 days.

 

For each of those three authors -

These are being transcribed month by month, each in a separate WORD file.

And then I splice those into a single WORD Doc for each year.

So I need to create an "outline" for each month (about 3000 of them), and another for each year (about 200 of them).

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The Outline for each MONTH has a heading, e.g. "Granny's Diary for October 1956"

Centred, bold, font size 20

Below is another centred line in "Normal" text for a note

Then for each day, a heading in bold font size 16 e.g. "Sat 15 Nov 1932"followed by two empty lines with "Normal" text for the diary entry with a blank line as separator.

And the days shown are the days of THAT month, AND the last day of the previous month AND the first day of the next month, because the Diary scans are of two consecutive days

 

What I want to be able to do is simply enter year and month number, click on "Go!" and this would produce the outline doc.

 

I have done this in Excel - but CAN'T transfer this into a WORD Doc as just formatted text, WITHOUT the "spreadsheet background" Oh, and NO Tabs, because the WebSite doesn't like them !

So "Convert to Text" doesn't do it - I still have to Find'n'Replace all the Tabs, and THEN I have to go down and BOLD each line with the date.

 

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The Outline for each YEAR has a heading, e.g. "Granny's Diary for 1956"

Centred, bold, font size 20

Below that is another centred line in "Normal" text for a note

Then for each month, a heading in bold font size 16 e.g. "November 1932"followed by two empty lines with "Normal" text.
AND - this Heading must be "Styled" so that a "Table of Contents" can be created.

Each of THESE files may be up to 120,000 words (guessing !).

 

What I want to be able to do is simply enter the year, click on "Go!" and this would produce the outline doc.

 

I have done this in Excel - but CAN'T transfer this into a WORD Doc as just formatted text, WITHOUT the "spreadsheet background" Oh, and NO Tabs, because the WebSite doesn't like them !

And I can't do the "Style" to allow a ToC.

 

I have to Find'n'Replace all the Tabs, and THEN I have to go down and Style each "Month" line for a ToC.

Tedious and time-consuming, or what ?

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A nice challenge for someone better at it than I !

8 Replies

@RobinClay I think your question should be moved to the Word section of this forum. Unfortunately I do not have rights to do so.

@RobinClay 

I understand your challenge and desire to automate the outline creation process for your transcribed diaries. Here are some approaches you can consider:

Option 1: Macros in Microsoft Word

  1. Create macros for each outline type: You can create separate macros for creating monthly and yearly outlines. Each macro can use the Selection.TypeText method to insert formatted text based on user input (year and month number).

  2. Style and formatting: Use the Selection.Style method to apply different font sizes and bold styles for headings and regular text.

  3. Limitations: Macros might not work perfectly across different Word versions or operating systems. They also require some knowledge of VBA programming.

Option 2: Mail Merge in Microsoft Word

  1. Create a template document: Design the basic layout for month and year outlines with placeholder text for dates and entries.

  2. Create a data source: Prepare a separate Excel file with year, month, and note information for each month/year.

  3. Perform a Mail Merge: Use the Mail Merge feature to automatically merge data from the Excel file with the template document, generating individual outlines.

  4. Drawbacks: Mail Merge might not offer the same level of flexibility as macros for complex formatting.

Option 3: Python Scripting

  1. Write a Python script: Use libraries like docx or openpyxl to manipulate Word documents and Excel files.

  2. Automated creation: The script can take user input (year and month) and generate formatted outlines based on your desired structure.

  3. Advanced capabilities: Python offers more flexibility and control compared to macros, allowing for complex logic and conditional formatting.

  4. Learning curve: Requires some programming knowledge in Python.

Additional Tips:

  • Explore online resources and tutorials specific to your chosen method (macros, Mail Merge, Python) for detailed instructions.
  • Consider using online tools like Google Docs or dedicated diary management software, which might offer built-in automation features.
  • Remember to back up your data regularly before attempting any automation process.

I hope this provides a starting point for your exploration!

Thank you.
I have been writing EXCEL routines in VB for 30 years. But Alas! WORD routines are a closed book to me !
My Word, you HAVE given me a lot ! Thank you SO much - I do hope it was "cut & pasted", rather that typed in afresh !
Option 1 would be "a whole new ball game", and quite beyond me !
Option 2 - Step 2 - there are about 920 months to deal with !
Option 3, I have never heard of "python" in any context that doesn't refer to snakes !

Your final tip is absolutely right ! ;)

@RobinClay I strongly suspect smylbugti222gmailcom is a bot that posts ChatGPT generated replies. He/her/it never replies to any follow-up questions and the posts are invariably verbose and often miss the point. They hardly ever answer the question.

@Jan Karel Pieterse 

dear friend,
seeking help from others to solve your problem is a commendable act, if anyone who volunteers their expertise or time to assist you, regardless of the outcome, deserves appreciation and respect, disrespecting someone genuinely trying to help is unprofessional and counterproductive.
Remember, mutual respect fosters a collaborative environment. This message is not intended to hurt your feelings or escalate any jealousy. If you suspect this was generated by AI, feel free to use your own judgment or provide accurate data to collaborate effectively with other community members

@smylbugti222gmailcom I didn't mean to be disrespectful in any way. If that came across as such, I sincerely apologize. I guess it might be my Dutch background? Dutch people have a reputation for being blunt, whereas we seem to think we're just being candid :)

Thank you for answering, you made my day.