The Document Management Conundrum

How we create, write, and edit individual documents (for the purposes of this essay, a document is something that comes out of a word processing application such as Microsoft Word, Open Office, or WordPerfect) typically reflects the writer’s individual style.

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How much is too much?

By this I do not mean how the actual words on the page are written, but rather how we manipulate and edit the text after the initial draft is created.

This may sound simple but that’s decidedly not the case. The way that we edit and refine a document does not just affect the author. Our work has become increasingly collaborative; documents are often touched by multiple knowledge workers, so the manner in which changes and edits are made has a ripple effect on everyone who is part of the process.

It seems as if every knowledge worker has a slightly different way of managing this aspect of the document creation process. Some print out the document and mark it up by hand; others use features built-into the word processing software; and still others have developed their own protocols for indicating changes, additions, and comments.

To find out more about people’s individual styles and preferences, we created a brief survey, which you can access by clicking here.

Participants will receive an Executive Summary of the survey’s findings and can also enter a drawing to win a $200 gift card from American Express. After you complete the survey, please share the survey link ( with colleagues or forums where knowledge workers congregate; the more people participating in the survey, the better we will all understand how to manage documents more efficiently.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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