My Eleanor

The end of a year is a natural time for reflection and thinking about New Year resolutions. Although I do have some mid-term and long-term resolutions (such as implementing some ideas for gallery downloads, writing a couple of technical and extensive blog posts for my own blog, writing a new book and so on), that’s not what’s on my mind this evening.

To my great chagrin, this year I’ve found there’s an Eleanor in one of the SharePoint courses I teach. If you don’t know what an Eleanor is, allow me to clarify. In the movie “Gone in 60 seconds” (which by the way, I still feel is a lot better than the critics have you believe) Nicholas Cage plays a car thief who is great at his, uh, job. It’s a Hollywood movie, so he’s not just great, but the greatest car thief in the world. Lovingly, he has assigned a girl’s name to each type of car he steals. Unfortunately, whenever he steals a specific type of car, a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500, something always goes wrong. As you can guess, he calls this type of car “Eleanor”.

I have something similar. There’s a certain exercise in one of the SharePoint courses I teach that always goes fine when I’m demonstrating it, but after that leaves my students in a world of pain where I’m not always able to help them. This frustrates me a great deal, because computers are supposed to be predictable right?

Here’s my Eleanor:

  1. Create a new document library.

  2. Click the Library tab > Library Settings.

  3. In the Columns section, click Create Column.

  4. Call the new column MyChoiceColumn of type Choice, add choices A, B, and C, and click OK.

  5. Click Advanced settings.

  6. In the Document Template section, click Edit Template.

  7. In Word, click File > Properties > Show Document Panel.

  8. Click Insert > Quick Parts > Document Property > MyChoiceColumn.

  9. Notice how changing either the quick part or the metadata in the DIP affects each other.

  10. Save the document.

  11. Click OK.

  12. In the breadcrumb menu, click [name of document library].

  13. Click the Files tab.

  14. Click New Document.

And presto, it’s time to admire how great the quick parts look in action because of the job that was done in the template. Or is it? Somehow, there is always at least one student that manages to follow these steps in a way that breaks the end result in an unrepairable fashion. This evening, while I’m writing the blog post, the reason why still eludes me and it’s driving me nuts. My resolution for next year? Break this annoying puzzle once and for all!