Overview of Master document in MS Word

Master document is used when you want to split your large Word document in to multiple Word files. It is basically a Word file which contains links or pointers to separate Word documents known as subdocuments. A master document contains only links of subdocuments so when you make changes in subdocuments it will automatically updated in master document. With the help of master document you can easily maintain your multiple subdocuments as a single document. More than one people can work on master document and can edit part of documents simultaneously.
What are the advantages of using Master Documents?
  1. It helps in organizing a large project.
  2. You can set a unified style in master document template that is automatically applies to all the subdocuments.
  3. You can see the latest changes in subdocuments without opening all documents separately.
  4. You can print multiple documents without opening all the documents separately.
  5. You can save resources by making all the changes in subdocuments without opening master document.
  6. Multiple user can works on different parts of master document at the same time.
  7. A master document handles all the details of subdocuments like name, location etc.
  8. Master document provides same formatting throughout.
  9. Master document is same as regular word document, you can save it, format it just like normal documents.
Corruption in Master Documents
Master document got corrupt very easily. It has more bugs than other features. So if you want to use master document it is recommended to save a backup first. If master document got damaged then you may lose all the text in it and there is no way to get them back. The most common reason behind the corruption of master document is inconsistencies between the master and subdocuments. To avoid the inconsistency, do following:
  1. Use same template for both master and subdocuments.
  2. Use limited text in master document.
Recover Master Document
Restore from backup: If you have saved your Word document backup using 'Always create backup copy' option then you can easily recover your data. But the backup copy does not contain most recent changes. Follow below steps to open the backup copy:
  1. Open Windows Explorer and search for the folder containing your master document. Check if the size of backup is same as that of your master document.
  2. Now close your master document without saving any changes.
  3. Exit Word.
  4. Start Word and open the backup document. Remove the subdocuments from backup document and save it as a normal Word file using different name.
  5. Again save the document as web page (html format) using different name.
  6. Now close the web page and open your normal Word document.
  7. This way you will be able to recover some of your data.
The manual process of recovering corrupt master document is very lengthy and confusing and does not work most of the time. So it is recommended to delete the master document when you done with it, otherwise it will corrupt your subdocuments also.


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