Working with Master and Subdocuments

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 4, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007 and 2010


2

Janice can't seem to find how to work with master documents and subdocuments in Word 2007 or Word 2010. She wonders if, perhaps, Microsoft got rid of the capability and, if so, how she can work with master and subdocuments created in earlier versions of Word.

Word still allows you to work with master and subdocuments; it just has made the tools a bit more difficult to locate.

It helps to remember that in the view of Microsoft, the entire concept of master and subdocuments is one of organization—you create subdocuments (and reference them in a master document) as a way to organize the content in that set of documents. Viewed in this way, it helps to explain why the master and subdocument tools ended up on the Outlining tab of the ribbon.

In order to display the Outlining tab of the ribbon, all you need to do is switch your document to Outline view. (The easiest way to do this is to simply click the Outline view button at the right side of the Status bar.) With a master document loaded (or a document you want to use as a master document), you can click the Show Document tool in order to display all the other master and subdocument tools that you may be used to from earlier versions of Word.

If you prefer that the tools be a bit more accessible than on the Outlining tab of the ribbon, then you can modify your Quick Access Toolbar, as described in other issues of WordTips, to add the tools. If you display all the tools you can add to the Quick Access Toolbar, you will find the following tools the most useful:

  • Collapse Subdocuments. This tool does exactly what it says—collapses any subdocuments so you see only their reference in the master document.
  • Master Document. This tool is effectively equivalent to the Show Document tool. When you click it, your document is switched to Outline view and you see the Outlining tab of the ribbon.
  • Master Document. Yes, this tool has a duplicate name from the previous tool. You can tell it from the previous tool, however, because it has a down-arrow to the right of the tool. It displays the entire Master Document group—all the tools—that normally appear on the Outlining tab of the ribbon.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11200) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing the Default 'Print What' Setting

By default, Word automatically changes the "Print What" setting in the Print dialog box to reflect what it thinks should ...

Discover More

Understanding ZIP Folders

Need to move a lot of information to someone else? The answer may be to store that information in a ZIP folder. Here's ...

Discover More

Item Not Available in Library

When sharing workbooks with others, you may find that the macros in those workbooks may not work as you expect. This tip ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Removing Tabs Used to Indent a Paragraph

You get a document from a colleague and you notice that each paragraph starts with a tab character. Here are a couple of ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Manual Paragraph Numbering

Word includes a tool that allows you to easily apply automatic numbering to your paragraphs. You may be editing a ...

Discover More

Extra Space after Quotation Mark when Pasting

Have you ever noticed how Word can decide to add extra spaces when you paste information into your document? This is part ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 5?

2020-08-04 17:34:48

Chester Hood

Can a Table of Contents be built over the entire document, i.e., the Master document and all Subdocuments? For example, pulling TOC entries from the subdocuments? Thanks.


2015-03-27 16:30:38

Michael Brumberg

Using Word 2013:
Where is the Outlining View button? Is that "Read Mode?"

Once I have clicked Home, where is the "Show Document" tool? Can't even guess here.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.