Word master documents: fixing and replacing?

Subject: Word master documents: fixing and replacing?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 12:39:09 -0500

[Re-sent because this never reached the list the first time. Sorry if you see it twice!]

I'm well aware that Word's "master document" feature is badly broken and dangerous to your data, and thus, I don't use it and recommend that others avoid using it.

However, let's consider the hypothetical case in which I receive a collection of Word documents linked together by a master document. What's the best way to safely extract the Word documents from this particular house of cards before it crumbles? Could I simply delete the master document and all will be well, or is the process more involved? I assume I'll need to re-establish a common template to govern styles in all the documents, probably by doing a "save as" on one document and choosing .dot as the format? (Then delete all the content, of course.)

Now let's assume I've safely extracted the files. What's my best bet for faking the master document features? I assume I could do this with judicious application of "include" fields to create a master index and master table of contents, but since I've never tried this, I'd be grateful for advice on the specific syntax and how to deal with issues such as picking up a previous document's page numbering in subsequent documents.


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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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