Embedding Linked Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 16, 2019)

Jennifer has a Word document that has links to hundreds of other documents. Now she wants to replace each of those links with the actual document referenced. (In other words, she wants to embed the referenced documents.) She wonders if there is a global way to do this instead of having to do each document separately.

The solution depends on how, exactly, you have the other documents linked to your current document. If you inserted the contents of another file using the Text from File command (Insert tab | Object | Text from File) and chose to insert as a link, then the file contents are actually added through the use of the INCLUDETEXT field. As with any other field, you can unlink the field in this manner:

  1. Select the field. (Or, if you have lots of fields, press Ctrl+A to select the entire document.)
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+F9. Word unlinks the fields, leaving the text that the fields represented.

If your documents are linked using hyperlinks, then the process is a bit more difficult. The reason is simple: a hyperlink is only a pointer to the other document, not the actual contents of that other document. This means that you need to come up with a way to open the other document, grab its contents, and stuff it into the current document in place of the hyperlink.

This type of work is perfect for a macro to do. The following example actually steps backwards through each hyperlink and inserts the files:

Sub InsertDocs()
    Dim aRange As Range
    Dim J As Long

    Set aRange = ActiveDocument.Range
    ' Go backwards because hyperlinks are deleted as processed
    For J = aRange.Hyperlinks.Count to 1 Step -1
        With aRange.Hyperlinks(J)
            ' Process only hyperlinks to documents
            If InStr(.Address, ".doc") > 0 Then
                .Range.Select
                On Error GoTo noFile
                .Follow
                On Error GoTo 0
                ActiveDocument.Range.Copy
                ActiveDocument.Close
                Selection.Paste
            End If
            GoTo nextFile
noFile:
            On Error GoTo 0
            MsgBox "Cannot open file " & .Address
nextFile:
        End With
    Next J
End Sub

Note that the macro checks the hyperlink to make sure it contains the letters ".doc". This doesn't mean that it is limited only to the old .DOC files, as the test would also match the letters ".docx" and ".docm".

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6824) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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