Although his example is not quite so easy as you dream of, his solution does show building an XMLMAP to read the Word XML.
The downside I see is that you'd have to be sure that their Word "database" always was saved as XML and that they ALWAYS followed the same table formats.
I don't suppose you could convince them to at least move into Excel?? Oh, hey, I have an idea. There are these great things called index cards, they're paper, see. And if you write your data on the index cards in pencil, then you can flip through the cards and review your data and even change it with this other invention called an eraser. And, you can sort them, by hand! It's so much fun!
Sorry, I couldn't resist! I sure they have a very good reason for keeping their info in Word. And the next time we're at the same user-group meeting, come and find me and I'll buy you a coffee and tell you the story about the Word Processor Student Information System!
Not just trying to reinvent the wheel but the road it rolls on, the vehicle on top of the wheel, the fuel for the vehicle and even the infrastructure to move the vehicle from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other side (re-keying). Sigh! Well, good luck!
I've played around with Word 2007/Office 2007 and it looks like (based on a very quick look) that the spec for the 2007 XML will build on, but be different from the Office 2003 XML. This is coming from, after all, the company that wrote their own flavor of HTML. And who ALSO wrote the RTF spec so the documents could be shared across disparate Word Processing applications (ClarisWorks, Nisus Writer, AppleWorks, StarOffice, etc)
When you go to save your documents in Vista, using Office 2007, the default is to save as .DOCX, .PPTX and .XLSX -- which are apparently the XML 2007 flavors. If you want to save as "old" Office 97-2003, there is a different button to do that and then you get the "old" version file extension -- .DOC, .PPT and .XLS.
Klunky as it sounds, having a VBScript to resave the Word doc as CSV or TAB delimited doesn't sound as terrible to me as trying to reverse-engineer Microsoft XML. (But that's just my opinion.)
We're still using Word 2003 here - probably will until 3003.
But I have some time to kill and,
I took this online course about a year or so ago from some really great instructors - I forget who at the moment (guess I'm having an Alzheimer's moment) - and I've always felt bad that there some parts of it that have gone untried. And,
We have a god-awful lot of Word documents floating around this place.