RE: MS Word Master Document

Subject: RE: MS Word Master Document
From: David Chisma <dchisma -at- retaildir -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "'Andriene Ferguson'" <Andriene -dot- Ferguson -at- concisetech -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 10:52:30 +1100

Dave Chisma wrote:

I've made some large manuals using Word's notorious Master doc 'feature'
using Word 97 in a Win95 environment. It worked, but it was not fun. I
believe Master doc was Microsoft's attempt to increase the usability of what
they already had (Include and RD fields). However, they messed up big time
and created more problems than they solved.

The big advantage using Master doc (or Include fields) is that the
sub-documents could be edited independently of the main document. If the
main document is big, Word is slow and falls over easily. I found that I had
to make many incremental backups each day so when the inevitable crash came,
I would lose only a few hours of work. (I might add that I now work with
Word in an WinNT environment, and Word is much better behaved.)

With your document, I'd have to ask whether the present document works well.
If it already works fine, why mess with it? It would depend on the nature
of the updates whether you really need to abandon the present structure and
put the time and effort into a new one. For example, if you only have some
minor changes to do without adding or removing sub-documents, it might not
be worth it. On the other hand, if the present document is faulty, or if you
have to start messing about with new sections, you might want to take the
cautious approach and start over. If you don't need to edit portions of the
document independently of the main document, you might as well keep it

Whichever approach you take, I recommend linking the graphics to reduce the
file size.

David Chisma
Technical Writer
Retail Directions Group
dchisma -at- retaildir -dot- com -dot- au

-----Original Message-----
From: Andriene Ferguson [mailto:Andriene -dot- Ferguson -at- concisetech -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, 16 March 2000 3:08
Subject: MS Word Master Document

I have a 300 page manual to update. The manual was created in MS Word as a
Master doc. I am trying to decide whether to keep it as a master doc or to
convert it to one word doc. I know Word does not handle large documents
well, but if I link all the graphics I think it should be okay. I have never
worked with Word's master doc feature, but I have heard horrible things
about it.

Wondering what to do.....


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