Content Controls are (even Pathagoras must admit), are pretty cool tools. If you don't use them now, it's probably because you see them as difficult to create and manipulate. Pathagoras is changing that. We have added 'Content Cortrol features to our toolbox because they can address some automation issues that Pathagoras alone cannot.
Here is how Microsoft defines Content Controls:
Content controls are individual controls that you can add and customize for use in templates, forms, and documents. For example, many online forms are designed with a drop-down list control that provides a restricted set of choices for the user of the form. Content controls can provide instructional text for users, and you can set controls to disappear when users type in their own text.
In a nutshell, Content Controls are little 'windows' that sit on top of (but still in line with) the text of your forms. They can be text holders, checkboxes, mini-calendars and lists. The are not the holy grail (limitations are discussed below) but they add a nice element to the document assembly process.
Sometimes you just need to be ‘creative’. No 'boilerplate' will work. However, you need to be quickly directed to the spot where your creativity will be expressed. Sometimes you want to make a selection from a list with the context (i.e., the text to the right and the left of the spot where your selection will be made) in full view. This will do it.
When you use the "<<CC_ . . .>> command to have Pathagoras create your Content Controls (discussed in the following pages), Pathagoras will use a special 'style' to to identify the control. That way, as you scroll up and down your document to make sure that all Controls have been completed, it will be easy to see what you still need to do. When you complete the item, the style reverts to your normal document style, erasing all 'evidence' of the control.
On top of that, you can tell Pathagoras to create a list of controls that are in a particular document. Instead of scrolling your document for Controls, you can just pick the desired one from the list and go directly to it.
•Pathagoras processes options/optional/repeat blocks at the 'beginning'. Sometimes you don't want to process a choice such as these until the end. You can bury an options block in a Content Control and process it at any stage you desire.
•Sometimes you just need to wax prosaic. The text you need cannot be chosen from a list. It cannot be properly described in a 5 or 6 word answer to a variable. Actually, variables can hold up to 250 characters, but even that may be insufficient. You need the ability to describe something free-form. Content Controls (text) allow you.
•Sometimes you want to work with checkboxes. Pathagoras can create them where you want them, and let you , complete them based on answers you provide in a Pathagoras interview.
•Content Controls don't save any values that you type or select. (But even exceptions have exceptions. Used a different way -- as a pure intake form -- Content Controls can be scraped. Pathagoras can scrape documents with CCs for values that you or perhaps a client, patient or customer inserts. See 'Scraping' section.)
• The List control only allows you to select 1 item from a list.
• Content Controls do not easily lend themselves to cascading selections or the ability to choose complete an answer at the 'end' of a document based on the answer to a previous question. This is where Pathagoras' ‘*Options*!groups!’ comes to the rescue.
Limitations: You can only select 1 item from a list. If you need more than one item, use Pathagoras *Options* commands.
"Content Controls" it is the sole violator of the Pathagorean Rule against promoting Word fields. A Content Control is definitely a field, but it behaves as if it is not. Because they are so relatively easy to set up, edit and use, we conceded to this exception. And because of what it can add to your form documents, the alternative -- not allowing Pathagoras to manipulate Content Controls -- seemed worse.