HTML Editor or Word Processor? That is the Question.

I love getting the newspaper every day. There’s something nostalgic about the smell and feel of it in my hands. It also makes really cute hats, but this is where my love for paper ends, and I insist on living in the Digital Age at work. When it comes to policies and procedures, we are no longer managing documents, but substantial amounts of crucial information. We need digitized policies and procedures to help us comply with ever-changing rules and regulations. That said, there are some policy management software companies and many organizations that are using Microsoft Word or [insert word processor here] to write and edit their P & Ps. This post reveals our discoveries and a possible solution.

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Now that we have established that newspaper makes for some cute little hats, let’s look at the top three things we like about HTML-based editors followed by the top three reasons we wouldn’t use a word processor for policy and procedure writing and editing. We aren’t trying to start a Twitter war, but this is worth discussing, don’t you think? Tweet us your thoughts at https://twitter.com/policystat

HTML PLAYS WELL WITH SaaS ON THE WEB

HTML allows you to create uniformity. By using an HTML-based editor, all your P & Ps are branded and professional-looking through automatic CSS styling. Consistently branded P & Ps make your employees feel confident in your organization’s legitimacy. And auditors tend to look for consistency in policies and procedures to determine whether an organization is applying a uniform policy management system throughout the organization.

HTML allows you to manage information instead of documents. With HTML, you only need to be concerned that the information you are working with is accurate. You don’t have to worry about formatting issues, or whether you are uploading the latest document version. And because your P & Ps are stored in this web-friendly format, accessing files is lightning fast.

HTML editors tend to be extremely easy to use. You don’t have to know HTML code because the policy management software you use has a WYSIWYG editor that doesn’t have too many features to navigate. It strips away all the complex functionality and lets you focus on the content of your P & Ps.

WORD PROCESSORS, ON THE OTHER HAND…

Word processors were created to produce printed documents. If they worked well for the web, we would not have HTML and CSS. Word processors often embed unnecessary, extraneous code that causes formatting issues. You’d be hard-pressed to find a SaaS that likes MS Word, not even MailChimp.

Word processors pose branding problems. As we established earlier in the post, uniformly branded P & Ps are good. Word allows users to use non-branded fonts and colors and lets them distort logos and images. When brand standards aren’t closely followed, your policies and procedures can end up looking like they belong to a bunch of different organizations. Word simply allows too much room for formatting inconsistencies. Your P & P writers and editors struggle to find time to do their jobs already. They shouldn’t have to take the time to figure out the brand standards.

Using Word can result in costly errors and inefficiencies. Saving Word files to different computers and folders often creates version conflicts which leads to wasted time sorting it out, or worse- legal suits and accreditation woes. Even policy management software that “seamlessly integrates” with Word can produce some major headaches. It often runs slower because you have to wait for all the Word processes to finish before you can do anything with your document. It’s too easy for users to accidentally add content to a template that should have been added to a document instead. And it’s easy to overwrite templates with the wrong file upload, resulting in the need to recreate the template again. Your policy management software should be easy to use, quick to load, and not so complicated that you make easily-avoidable mistakes.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Does this mean Word has no place in the P & P world? No. We believe in having our cake and eating it too. We recommend using a policy management software that allows Word document uploads but converts them into HTML for editing to produce accurate versions of branded P & Ps that load lickety-split. After all, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Making the complicated simple is true creativity.”- Charles Mingus
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