Australian Tax Office


With a very large, dynamic, public website, the publishing area of the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has to support a significant number of content contributors and maintainers. Like many organisations, the most practical editing option for the ATO users is document templates based on Microsoft Word. However, in order to improve user productivity and document quality, without create a parallel solution to the existing content management solution.  Allette Systems implemented a solution to provide end users with meaningful document validation before the documents were sent for publishing.

With users now getting immediate feedback on documents and the publishing team no longer receiving Word files that do not follow the templates, substantial cost reductions have been realized.


In the world of documents, Microsoft Word is a fact of life and when used properly is a great application. Unfortunately it is also a very large, complex application that few people have the time to properly learn or the direction to use consistently. This results in documents that may look correct but cannot be processed as intended.

Allette  Systems has many years of experience reconciling Microsoft Word-based workflows with specialized XML documents. During this time we have consistently found that with easily accessed validation and preview tools and meaningful validation messages, Word can add a lot of value without diminishing the data quality.

Key Features

The ATO Word validator is securely hosted fully redundant server that simplifies the task of non-technical Word users checking the validity of their .docx files against a defined document structure. It provides the following:

  • basic analysis and reporting for gross error checking,
  • purge structurally irrelevant, or non-compliant, formatting information such as typographical instructions or formatting overrides,
  • provide a detailed count of document objects and non-compliant use of styles or content,
  • a markup view for tracing problems,
  • a two-pass roundtrip  test to ensure that no content will be lost in the conversion,
  • a final count and compare of markup and content to confirm the integrity of the converted data.

After processing thousands of documents a month for several years this solution has enabled the ATO to:

  • get the most out of their existing investment in Microsoft Office,
  • benefit from improvements to quality and productivity that XML delivers,
  • reduce the frustration associated with a workflow that separates content creation from validation.