By now you have probably noticed I am very much into Documents with smarts, long time ago I wrote an article about how to create business documents with schema's and xml. Below is the intro and link to this article on www.voconversion.com.au which actually is a site dedicated to developers that need to bridge the gap between Win32 apps., .net and Office. Many more articles there!
Using Word as an Automation server to insert data in a document is good enough for small documents that need a few data-elements. As soon as the amount of data grows or multiple documents have to be generated, the speed is generally not good enough.
Further more, while such a process is in progress the application is usually blocked and the user can only wait, or abort because they do not understand what is happening.
Using XML as the file format for generating Business Documents will deliver flexibility, scalability, and simplicity for the developer and End users alike.
This article presents a way to write the data part of documents without even starting Word, yet it will use Word for display and/or print and allow the users to alter the appearance of the documents without the need for developers. As long as the data and schema contains the information that is required, users have more or less complete freedom to apply formatting and layout as they need to. Documents like this can have several different appearances for different purposes. A user could decide to view the details of an order, or an overview of sales in that day all using the same generated XML data. Different kinds of views can be defined by developers or users or existing ones can be modified on the fly. The documents can be generated on a server without installing Word which is a big bonus. This is also a very convenient option for websites that let users download data or Word documents.
Read the full article here: http://www.voconversion.com.au/VoConversion/Article%20Archive/Generating%20business%20documents%20using%20XML%20and%20MS.mht