Re: Word 2010 crashes when updating index

Subject: Re: Word 2010 crashes when updating index
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 14:18:16 +0800 (WST)

Hi Jessica -

> I've used MS Word for more than 10 years to create long manuals:
> one .doc for each chapter, one for the TOC, and one for the Index,
> using {RD} fields for the TOC and Index.

This has long been the accepted method for doing long, multi-chapter books in MS Word, because Word's Master Documents feature has been thoroughly broken since its introduction in the mid-1990s.

In 2002 Steve Hudson published a procedure for using Master Documents reliably. AFAIK it works but there are ten rules that must be followed always and exactly, so you must be very disciplined and in control of your process to make it work. (In the same way that following a map through a minefield is perfectly safe and reliable, as long as you never make a false step.)

A few months ago this article was published on Woody's Office Watch:

Master Documents without pain

It makes this claim:

"The term 'Master Document' may cause many to scorn if not outright panic especially those who have been using Word 97 or 2000 version. The most common problem which people faced earlier was the corruption of master documents and the problem of not being able to recover it properly.

Eventually Microsoft listened and rewrote the whole codebase to make it work safely. However memories of master document disasters still linger and is often asked if the feature is now safe. The answer is yes, with the usual proviso for making backups that comes with any software."

So if this article is correct, Master Documents 'out of the box' might really be the best way to handle long documents in Word 2007 and later versions.

I would love to know if anyone has tried this.


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