Merging several Word documents?

Subject: Merging several Word documents?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 08:48:16 -0500

Paula Whitaker has <<... inherited some documentation that consists of
several Word documents (37). Is there a way for me to merge these documents
into one file without having to create a separate document and cut and paste
each one into the new file? I'm using Word 2K.>>

Before doing so, I'd take a long, hard look at why you'd want to do this.
Word's reliability decreases drastically as document size increases. I've
been participating in techwr-l for going on 8 years now (eek! <g>), and
that's my summary of the experience with Word: sometimes it works just fine
for million-page manuals, but most of the problems I hear reported are for
longer documents. And don't even think of using the "master document"
feature: a recipe for disaster.

If your goal is stylistic consistency, you can accomplish this by opening
each file and applying the template of your choice to the file: Open the
"Format" menu, select "Style gallery", then apply the desired template from
the list of available documents. One caution: if the style for any paragraph
or part of a paragraph has been modified after its original style was
applied, Word won't automatically update the entire paragraph to reflect the
style characteristics in the template you just applied. Though this is a
safety feature (e.g., if you manually format part of a paragraph, Word
assumes you had a good reason for doing so and won't try to undo it), it
also means you'll still have to do some proofing to make sure all the styles
were applied consistently.

On the assumption that you really do need to put all 37 files into a single
document, don't bother with cut and paste. Create a new document, then
proceed as follows: Open the "Insert" menu, and select "File". Select the
file you want to insert, click OK, and you've just inserted your first file.
Save the document, and continue. Make a list of all the file names just to
be sure that you don't miss any, and double-check when the job is done. I
haven't tried this for graphics-rich documents, so be aware that you may
need to reimport graphics to get them to print properly--or they may import
just fine. Test this carefully!

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at
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