Working with Master and Subdocuments

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 4, 2020)

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

Weird Mouse Shortcut

If you like to use the mouse in your worksheet navigation efforts, you'll want to pay attention to this tip. Here you ...

Discover More

Understanding Conditional Formatting Conditions

Conditional formatting can be a great way to highlight specific information in your worksheets. This tip explains the ...

Discover More

Mysterious Blue Line between Paragraphs

Do you ever have mysterious lines show up between paragraphs either on your screen or on your printouts? It could be ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting the Date and Time

Inserting a date and time in your document is a snap using the tools provided in Word. Just pick the command, then ...

Discover More

Using Go To with a Percentage

Need to jump a certain percentage of the way through a document? You can do it using the familiar Go To tab of the Find ...

Discover More

Counting Document Lines

Need to know how many lines are in your document? Word provides a quick and easy way you can determine the information.

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 4 + 8?

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.