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OfficeXP Smart Tags - What do they do?
Wondering about their future use in IE6.

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 642 posted 5:30 pm on Sep 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

Part of the discussion in the thread about IE6 displaying online word docs [webmasterworld.com] has got me curious about the current Smart Tags that work in officeXP. SmallTime reported SmartTags were visible in IE6 viewing an online Word .doc, but they didn't seem to have an associated action.

What are Smart Tags used for in those apps? Are they mainly for external web links? Predominantly to MS pages? Any other uses?

I wonder what could be slipped in here by MS to use them in IE6, to get users used to the fact, for HTML doc use later.



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 642 posted 7:43 pm on Sep 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

From a quick look at it, the 'smart tags' in officeXP are linking types of information between applications - ie a word doc will tag what looks like a proper name, and the action will check your outlook address book for the address etc, from within the doc. On a the bigger end of it, Insurance companies are developing a smart tag that when you type in a policy number, will pull up the account, lawyers networks tags that will call up a case, etc. Currently they will call stuff from Outlook, Excell, Access, ODBC, etc, but tags can be developed (or added by MS) to call actions from most anywhere. IMHO it looks like MS proprietorizing XML - haven't noticed any 'opensource' offers. Just speculation, but wonder if one can code subscription, or other payment schemes into the tag?


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 642 posted 10:46 am on Sep 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Office XP SmartTags come in 2 flavours; XML and .dll. The two types can coexist on the same machine. I'm also fairly sure you have to specify a directory for all active SmartTags to live in for a given machine.

Then, as you enter info into an Office doc (Word, Excel etc), the machine checks input against the words/phrases targetted by the tags in the specified directory, and if one occurs, you get the underlining.

MS browsers from IE5.0 on (I think. Could be IE5.5) pick up from Windows where said directory is, and use it also, hence IE6.0 uses them.

If you hover your mouse over the tag, a menu appears, allowing you to perform whatever actions are defined in the tag.

The usage I am most familiar with is in conjuction with an accounts package. When you are writing a report on, say your companies debtors, as a Word doc you can link the tags to the live accounts database. As you write the name of a company that owes you money, the tag checks it against the table in the accounts that records customer names. If it finds a match, the name is underlined.

Hovering over the name gives a choice of actions, which in this case may be a report on the companies account details, current balance, order history etc. These are defined in the tag, and the info comes straight from the live accounts data.

When the report is done, you e-mail it to the FD, who opens it in Word, picks a company whose appearance on the list concerns him, gets the dropdown, and selects the option to display their account history in Excel. An Excel s/sheet opens, with the most up-to-date possible info, as it comes staright from the live accounts d/base.

He can then pick up that info, and compile his report to the MD on remedial action.

XML tags can come from anywhere, I think most .dll ones come from MS (and I believe the controversial IE version was .dll flavour, the idea being that when you log on, your browser automatically, and invisibly queried MS.com to d/load the most recent version of the .dll, and upload gathered surfing info)

Does that make things as clear as mud?


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 642 posted 4:18 pm on Sep 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm, they sound very useful on the application side of things. It would be great if MS left it at that, but I doubt that will happen. Thanks for the info.

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