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Ask Max: Building an editable design template

Asked on 08/28/2006:

Hello Jacob! I am in a bit of a bind and wondered if you could help me solve it. One of my clients has recently asked me to design a report template for them where the text can be modified by any of their employees from any of their offices. So, I need to design a bare bones simple report template in which I can lock the design elements, but leave the text portions modifiable. The trick is that I work with a Mac (for design and desktop publishing) and they use PCs. The programs that they have include Microsoft Office, Publisher, and Acrobat, although we are 95% sure they only have the Reader. (My contact person is verifying that for me now.) Do you know of any programs that would work for such a situation, where you can create a template on a Mac but PC users can still modify the file? I am willing to purchase new software myself if there is any way to get a Mac version of PC software or update my computer to run PC programs, although I do not have a giant budget for doing so.Hope you have some words of advice! I'm so lost! Feel free to drop me an e-mail or give me a call if you have any additional questions.


MS word files are cross-platform compatible. That will apply to the template files as well. You are going to want to use the most current version of Word for the Mac, but the templates you create in the Mac version of Microsoft Word will be compatible with the PC version of Word. The template can be locked down and password protected.Hopefully that will work for your clients.Jacob Loeb

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