Large WORD '03 document?

Subject: Large WORD '03 document?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Peggy Lucero <plucero -at- atsva -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 11:09:16 -0500

Peggy Lucero wondered: <<Team members are making their updates to a 555 page System Design Document. I got this email today: "We are having some issues with Word crashing when we open and close the SDD.  I'm thinking that we might be running into a limitation in Word with respect to large files (the SDD is currently 19MB).  Have you ever worked with master documents?  You can have multiple documents linked to a single master, so you can edit the individual pieces without losing the ability to view and print the whole document through the master.">>

I've worked with larger documents, largely due to poor thinking about including graphics rather than large numbers of pages, but it was always larger than I'd be comfortable with. Under no circumstances should you use Master Documents. They are widely considered, including by many Microsoft MVPs, to be a source of inevitable disaster. The only human being who seems able to use them with any reliability is Steve Hudson, and he's not from this planet. I mean that in a good way. <g>

<<All I can think of is to break document into 3-4 smaller docs (SDD Part I, SDD Part II... etc.)>>

Sounds like the most effective way to do this. Among other things, it lets you distribute each part separately for review and lets different authors or editors work independently on each part; with a single document, only one person at a time can work on the project, and that's probably not so efficient.

You'll want to build your own version of a master document to handle things like the index and table of contents. Jean Weber ( offers good advice on how to do this in her books on mastering Word rather than letting it master you. If you're willing to do your homework rather than purchase her book and get a neatly packaged solution (false economy?), you basically need to research the correct use of "includetext" and "reference document" (RD) fields.

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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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Large WORD '03 document: From: Lucero, Peggy

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