FW: MS Word File Size Limitation

Subject: FW: MS Word File Size Limitation
From: "Harris, Michael" <Michael -dot- Harris -at- innocon -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 07:46:43 -0400

This response is slightly modified from what I sent directly to
Jonathan. I have used MS Word to do technical writing since about
Windows 3.1, so I have experienced much aggravation with it. I have
also used WordPerfect 5.1, FrameMaker in the early 90s, and versions of
Interleaf. I don't recall the tech writing system we used at Lockheed
Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California, which was
pre-windows or even pre-PC. But most of my employers have insisted on
using Word as THE technical writing application. When MS Word is all
you have, Word is what you learn to use.

I am not a degreed technical writer, and have an Associates Degree in
Electronics from 1984. I am now taking classes to get my Bachelors
Degree in Business Management, but most of what I learn comes from the
school of 'Hard Knocks and Word Crashes'. So, take the following
write-up for what it is - words of experience.


> ______________________________________________
> From: Harris, Michael
> Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2006 6:46 AM
> To: 'Jonathan West'
> Subject: RE: MS Word File Size Limitation
> Thank you for your input, Jonathan. I have experienced much success
> with master documents, with varied total document sizes, including:
> * small documents, where there are less than 10 subdocuments and
> total combined file size of less than 1MB, (this allows you to have
> different people working on their sections of the document
> concurrently)
> * where there are more than 100 text files joined under one master
> document (for ease of managing large documents), and
> * where there are many graphic intensive subdocuments totaling
> hundreds of MBs (for creating large documents with just one
> auto-generated Table of Contents).
> When you have a history of working for managers who don't like to take
> "You can't do that with Word!" for an answer, you learn how to make
> use of Word's functionality. I first used master and sub documents to
> create a 250MB, 250-page document back around 1998. (I wrote
> technical manuals for use in manufacturing facilities in foreign
> countries where the majority of the labor force did not have a high
> school education from their own country, much less command of the
> English language, so the document used many MS Word-annotated photos).
> Prior to that, I had numerous failures using master documents.
> However, just as Henry Ford was persistent in his determination to
> have his engineers create the V8 engine, I had to be persistent with
> MS Word. I have that kind of persistence, and it has paid off. In
> fact, at that time, I was recommended to use Microsoft's Binder
> application and I opted instead to use master documents.
Now, I am very much in favor of using master documents in Word. Not
being an IT guy, simply put, the greatest limitation I have found in
managing large document sets is the amount of available RAM. It wasn't
always easy to get it to work, and I still have some minor challenges,
but I can say that MS Word Master Document functionality can be used

> Thanx again, Jonathan.
> Michael
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jonathan West [mailto:jwest -at- mvps -dot- org]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 5:02 PM
> To: Harris, Michael; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: MS Word File Size Limitation
> The limit is normally stated as 32Mb, not including embedded graphics.
> By the way, I would be very hesitant to use Master Documents under any
> circumstances, except possibly for assembling a master document set
> from
> *copies* of a set of documents for a one-off print.
> Regards
> Jonathan West

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