Microsoft Excel Tutorial (Chapter 2)

Smart Documents

Smart documents are documents that are programmed to extend the functionality of your workbook by dynamically responding to the context of your actions.
Several types of workbooks, such as forms and templates, work well as smart documents. Smart documents work especially well for workbooks that are part of a process. For example, your company may have a process for filling out annual employee expense forms, and you may already use a Microsoft Office Excel 2003 template for this purpose. If that template is turned into a smart document, it can be connected to a database that automatically fills in some of the required information, such as your name, employee number, manager's name, and so on. When you complete the expense report, the smart document can display a button that allows you to send it on to the next step in the process. Because the smart document knows who your manager is, it can automatically route itself to that person. And, no matter who has it, the smart document knows where it is in the expense review process and what needs to happen next.
Smart documents can help you reuse existing content. For example, accountants can use existing boilerplate when creating billing statements.
Smart documents can make it easier to share information. They can interact with a variety of databases and use BizTalk for tracking workflow. They can even interact with other Microsoft Office applications. For example, you can use smart documents to send e-mail messages through Microsoft Outlook, all without leaving the workbook or starting Outlook.

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