I’m frustrated

how do I use Master Document in Office 2011 for Mac?

how do I use Master Document in Office 2011? I was disappointed to find no information about it in the new Office 2011 for Mac (except that it exists!) If there is documentation available, I would appreciate a pointer.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m Hopeful
    Hi Carol,

    I'm checking into this issue for you.

    Nan Barber
    Editor
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m hopeful
    Hi Carol,

    First, let me apologize for the fact that we promised coverage of Master Documents in the Intro to this book and did not deliver.

    Master Documents is an older Word feature from the days when computers had trouble handling larger file sizes. The Master documents let you deal with a long manuscript by linking a series of smaller documents together in a sort of outline format. The feature was always rather clumsy, and in fact Microsoft no longer mentions it in its own help system.

    With the power of new computers and and the Word 2011, its fine to work with documents that are a few thousand pages long. For most projects, it's easier and safer just to create one really long document. If you're collaborating, you can use the review tools and/or have authors write separate sections and combine them into one long document when the pieces are complete.

    In Office 2011: The Missing Manual, we decided to eliminate coverage of Master Documents in order to focus on newer features like Publishing Layout view.

    Master Documents still works the way it always did, so if you've used it before, you can still use it in Word 2011. Just go to View > Master Document.

    If you would like more information on using Master Documents, we provided coverage of it in Office 2008: The Missing Manual. I can send you a copy of this book if you wish. Please email me at nanbarber@oreilly.com.

    Nan Barber
    Editor
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  • I’m frustrated
    I too was hoping for coverage of the master document feature. Using it to create subdocuments from the outline view allowed me to edit a long book in Word (using Track Changes) and send the author each chapter when I finished with it, rather than making them wait until I was done with the whole book. When I couldn't find the tools for it in my new copy of Word yesterday, I went almost straight to the Kindle store to get the Office for Mac 2011 Missing Manual onto my iPad. So I'm disappointed to learn it's not, in fact, covered in the book.

    Nan, I didn't notice a reference to master documents in the Intro, but there is one at the opening of Chapter Six on p. 173 (I believe -- I can't check because I got to this Get Satisfaction page from within the Kindle iPad app), where we're told it's covered later in the chapter. You can imagine my confusion and frustration when I paged through the rest of the chapter without finding it!

    I already own a paper copy of the MM for Office 2008. I looked there first for help, before I bought and downloaded the new book. I appreciate your pointing out the Master Document item in the View Menu, which I'd overlooked, but selecting it just takes me to the Outline view, it doesn't provide the Master Document toolbar shown in figure 6-14 on page 201 of the Office 2008 book. THAT is what I'm trying to find. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Moshe Feder
    Consulting Editor
    Tor Books
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  • Hello Moshe,

    I apologize again for the confusing error in the book. You certainly have reason to be annoyed.

    After you choose View>Master Document, go to View>Toolbars and see if there's Master Document on the list of toolbars. If so, you can choose from that submenu to make the Master Document toolbar appear.

    Nan Barber
    Editor
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  • I have the same issue. Have been to Toolbars and no the vertical toolbar that enabled you to see different levels in the hierarchy of your document isn't there. Is it still available? This one feature is what made Master Document so useful and it seems to have gone.
    Can you help?
    Clive Sherlock
    author
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  • You can view the different hierarchical levels in the sidebar but you can't change them: you can't make a level 3 into a level 2 or 4 as you could in earlier versions of Word for Mac.
    Clive Sherlock
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  • I’m frustrated
    Nan--I have decided to write my book (400 pages and still going) in individual chapters. I have found that this level of Word is much too unstable to risk having an entire book in one document. For example, recently, when I created a footnote within a chapter, Word abruptly terminated and did not save my changes, even though I have the autobackup option set to 1 minute (yes, I have learned to be paranoid when dealing with this product.)

    On almost a weekly basis, this program abnormally terminates even with a file of fewer than 30 pages.

    By the way, Excel is about as bad--it will "forget" the formatting I have defined for a column and spontaneously go back to using the default options. It also mysteriously terminates.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Hi Nan (or anybody else that could help)

    Let me start by saying that I am a Windows user. I work in the radiology department of a large medical school and am actively involved in the research component of our department.

    I have developed a master document for theses and research reports according to the strict guidelines set out by our University. This document contains 16 subdocuments, all components of the research report.

    When one opens this master document on Mac, you can see a list of all the subdocuments and can edit each one by clicking on the filename, but you can't actually expand all the subdocuments to see the master document in its entirety. I know in Windows there are a couple of button clicks to follow to do this, but I could not figure out how to do this on Mac. (The master document toolbar is visible.)

    Can anybody give me any pointers in this respect? It would be greatly appreciated!

    Warmest regards
    Su Lucas
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  • Why has 'Nan' dried up? Is there a solution to these issues? I'm sure only a tiny percentage of us are listed here.

    Nan, whoever you are and wherever you are, please help and tell us how to do it
    OR
    get Microsoft to click a button and reinstall the toolbar to let us use levels?
    Thank you
    Clive Sherlock
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  • Hello Clive & Su,

    I'll do my best to help you. If you're using Word 2011, first choose View->Master Document. The Home tab of the Ribbon at the top of the document will then show buttons that will let you work with levels. For example, there's a pop-up menu at left that lets you change the level of a heading. The buttons below that let you indent and outdent.

    A small Master Document toolbar will appear somewhere on your screen...it may not be at the top of the screen where you expect, so look around for it. You can show and hide this toolbar by choosing View->Toolbars->Master Document.

    To see the subdocuments in a panel on the left side, turn on the Sidebar. There's a button to do so at the top of the document above the Ribbon. You can also choose View->Sidebar->Document Map Pane.

    Well, please let me know if you have any further questions. I'm afraid I don't hold any sway at Microsoft, but I know that they are no longer supporting the Master Documents feature. We're on our own to work with the remnants of it that they've left for us!
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  • I tried using this feature to create a large manuscript with many chapters and ended up loosing much of the work. Master-subdocuments is a very unreliable and risky feature.
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  • I’m frustrated
    You are totally wrong! Word cannot handle a document with more than 32 MB of text or more than 512MB in total. I suffered my self. When the file size goes beyond the limits, the file cannot be saved or opened. I had to use Open Office to open the file and then create a Master Document, the only way to handle a huge document in Word.

    And managing Master Documents in word is painful.

    Next time I'll use Indesign
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  • In Word for MAC 2011, selecting View>Master Document displays the "Outline" View, with the addition of a very small toolbar at the upper left which provides choices for creating and managing sub-documents. Selecting View>Outline just displays the "Outline" view, keeping the small "Master Document" toolbar hidden. It is obvious that Microsoft is down-playing the Master Document idea, only maintaining enough of a remnant to provide compatibility for those using existing Master Documents.
    Perhaps a solution is to simply use the existing file folder structure to create a long document, chapter by chapter, with each chapter (or other section) in its own file, organizing the files in sub folders, and so forth . . .
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