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Propman and Aspose

We were faced with the task of converting existing programs from using Office Automation (OLE) to using a document creation tool. We reviewed a couple of possible products, and Aspose seemed the best fit to our needs.

The packages we have looked at are:

  1. Aspose Words for mail merge. We’re not in a position to change our mail merge templates; there are more than a hundred of them, and changing them would cause too much disruption, so we were looking to replicate the behavior of Word as accurately as possible. Besides, some templates are stored on customer sites as documentation of previously created letters, and there’s no way we can change those.
  2. Aspose Cells for load of CSV files and apply formatting to create nicely laid-out Excel sheets.

You can probably tell from the above that the Word documents were our main concern.

Other than preserving the layout, the main requirement is that we need to be able to offer the same features as we were able to offer when using Word so that we do not take away functionality that our customers currently have.

For example, some of the mail merges need to have images added in, and we have been able to replicate the old image formatting and our layout.

There’s a wide range of file formats to choose from. The ones we need to support are standard Word (with optional password protection) , standard Excel and PDF documents. The PDF creation feature allows saving directly as a PDF document just as easily as creating a Word or Excel document. We’ve also got a need for allowing our users to create PDF files by using a PDF printer. All of these things we’ve found to be possible. There is support to select any installed printer and set up the necessary options for printing to file.

I’ve found the online documentation to be complete and accurate, with useful overview articles to get you started. It’s also been quite easy to find examples that fit the behavior's I needed to replicate. I've needed to raise one or two support cases where the Aspose behavior didn’t quite match the Word behavior. The response was quick, and so far we’ve found solutions that will work for us.

The mail merges we are looking to do are sometimes very large indeed, and the speed when using Aspose to perform the mail merge is so much better than the same mail merge operation done with Word. This is going to be a major advantage for us going forward.

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