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  1. #1
    den32
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    Master Documents Again

    I must admit I'm worried. I visited this lounge for the first time about a week ago and the other day I had a look at the advice on Master Documents.

    The thing is I have been using the Master Document for producing software Operating Manuals for about three years now and I haven't had corruption yet.

    I was convinced I'd cracked it and that I'd got the beast under control and then I read of John McGhie's opinion about there being only two kinds of Master Document: those that are corrupt and those that will be corrupt soon.

    So now I'm worried.

    OK so I'm not doing it full time: I'm now working on my third manual that is currently has 20 chapters, 66K words, 189 page references and 49 cross-chapter references, so that gives you an idea of the scale.

    I did have trouble with manual number one until I battened down those end-of-chapter-end-of-Section paragraph marks and kept them under control and after that everything has gone (relatively!) simply.

    The only problems I encounter are the occasional Chapter 0 or other cross reference error and these are probably my fault rather than Word's. And in any case they are rare, easily searched for and replaced.

    So what do you think? Am I walking a tightrope? Or have I stumbled on a working solution?

    I do have adequate back-ups and the thought of having to re-jig the whole thing make me reach for the scotch.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Re: Master Documents Again

    You will almost certainly get gloom and doom (all well documented) from the gurus that inhabit this forum. Having said that, I too have been using Master documents for a number of years and can honestly say that any problems that I have encountered have been of my own making.

    That's not to say that the whole can of worms won't erupt tomorrow tho' and then we can all say 'we told you so'.

    ChrisP

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Master Documents Again

    I am the third member of the Master Document users club who has not faced serious problems -- yet.

    Erring on the side oc caution may be worth it, especially if any of the two or three recommended alternatives works out satisfactorily.

    The fact that you have so much effort invested in the status quo should be a spur, not a block, for change. If you allow that, you are just making the possible scale of the problem (when you do encounter it -- assuming that the MVPs are right -- that much bigger.

  4. #4
    den32
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    Re: Master Documents Again

    Yes OK, but since I am not much of a reader I haven't come across, and I haven't been able to think out an alternative that would give me all the features that I have with MasterDoc.

    And since I am so far down the road with this one (almost ready for contents and index) and I have a deadline to meet I could not think of starting afresh at this stage.

    But if someone could point me in the direction of some archives, papers etc that can start me thinking for next time I would be grateful.

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Master Documents Again

    One solution involves use of the INCLUDETEXT field and bookmarks.

    Juste Search on Master Documents on the Lounge, and you will see a huge no of leads.

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    Re: Master Documents Again

    You've been lucky, so far...

    See (www.addbalance.com/word/masterdocuments.htm) for information on the Master Document feature and workarounds. See <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/General/WhyMasterDocsCorrupt.htm>Why Master Documents Corrupt (http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/Genera...ocsCorrupt.htm) for more information on what goes wrong, and <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/General/RecoverMasterDocs.htm>How to Recover Master Documents</A> (http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/Genera...MasterDocs.htm) for ideas on how to salvage what you can.

    The chance of corruption goes way up with the use of the following features:
    1) Automatic Numbering (other than SEQ fields)
    2) Track Changes & Versions
    3) Extensive cross-references

    If you plan on continuing to use them I guess my thoughts would be: re-read John McGhie's "Why Master Documents Corrupt" and pay particular attention to avoiding the problematic uses he points out. Make sure your backups are of your complete document, not just the parts that you've worked on this session, and that they are not writing on top of each other. I wish you luck.
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

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