Re[2]: Word Masterdoc problems

Subject: Re[2]: Word Masterdoc problems
From: Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996 16:20:31 GMT

Keith Soltys writes:

You may get away with using the Master document "feature" if you keep the
number of files small, less than fifteen would be good, and less than ten
would be better.

And then again you may not. One of the catastrophic
failures I had was with a master containing only the title
page, ToC and index, with two sub documents holding the
text. The sub files were impossible to open after it fell

Word seemed to think they were each hundreds of megabytes,
and just wouldn't open them. Possibly with a hex editor I
might have salvaged something, but I just used the previous
night's backup.

The major problem is that Word runs out of file handles The maximum number of
file handles under Windows 3.1x is 255 and Word and Windows by themselves use
up almost half of that. It may seem like there are a lot left over, but a lot
of things in Word documents use file handles and you can run up against the
limit really fast -- especially when you use Master documents.

Sadly, the limit isn't just file handles (though I'm sure that is what
fails first on many occasions), even if you set files= in config.sys to a
very high number. The problem doesn't go away under win95 or NT either,
although it does get better.

There is a tech note about this somewhere in the Microsoft Knowledge base. I
think they recommend a maximum of 22 files and that is being really generous.

I'd say a maximum of one file is a safe limit!

Like you, I had unexplained and seemingly random problems with page numbering
and the like. I finally gave up on Master documents completely, and now use
RD fields and bookmarks for cross-references. It's more cumbersome, but I
don't lose any documents that way.

Seconded. There again, in Word 2, bookmarks gave problems too, but I don't
remember the details. I also struggle with the way that Word puts in
section breaks in sub docs, and the effect this can have on maintaining
headers and footers.

If you do use Master documents, back up, back up, and then back up again.

Absolutely. They really aren't worth using, IMO.


iharrison -at- sct -dot- co -dot- uk

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