Comments were the perfect answer, since these hover above the Word/Excel content without changing the actual layout.
Our template generation engine actively scans for comments that contain placeholder or formula syntax, and replaces the text linked to a comment with the placeholder/formula extracted from the comment itself.
Below is an example of a Word template that is using normal inline placeholder and formula syntax, resulting in word wrapping of the table cells:
Now here’s the same template adjusted to use comments to hold formula syntax.
Note the checkbox characters in the table cells are simply text linked to the comments.
Those are replaced by the outcome of the comment syntax when the template generates.
Both of the above would result in the output shown below, but the second approach is easier to read, since you don’t have those great big formulae getting in the way of your smart template layout!