Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Creating Two Versions of the Same Document.

Creating Two Versions of the Same Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2013)

3

Barry is a teacher and likes to use Word to create handouts for his class. He also uses Word to create detailed notes for him to teach from. The detailed notes document is a superset of the handout. Barry is searching for the best way to "marry" the handout document to the detailed notes document so that if he makes a change to the handout it is also reflected in his notes. He has tried using only one document for everything and formatting his detailed notes as hidden text, but that doesn't always work. (For instance, a numbered list will have missing numbers in the handout if he hides some of it.) His detailed notes are interspersed among the handout text, so he can't simply have a master/subdocument.

Actually, you've thought about two good approaches, but there are others. The hidden text approach might still be possible; the only difference is in how you prepare the text in your document. For instance, instead of putting your notes in their own paragraphs (which would entail them having their own numbers in a numbered list), you could make the notes part of the previous paragraph by pressing Shift+Enter at the end of the student portion of the text. Your note then won't get its own number, and you can still hide it so you can control printing.

Another option is to forego the hidden text and put your notes into comments. Word allows you to turn off the display and printing of comments in much the same way as you do with hidden text.

Closely related to comments is to use all the markup tools enabled through Track Changes. In your document you can activate Track Changes when you are ready to put in your own notes. They then show in the document as "added" text. Word allows you to print your document with or without markup visible, so you can print it with or without the added text (your notes).

There is another advantage to the Track Changes approach, as well. If you add something in your notes that you later decide you want visible in the student handout, all you need to do is select that something and then "accept" the revision for what you selected. It then becomes part of the original document and will be printed on the handout.

While you noted that using master and subdocuments doesn't work well for your needs, there is a parallel approach that may be adaptable—use the INCLUDETEXT field instead. Your notes could be in a number of small documents (call them subdocuments, if you want), and then you place INCLUDETEXT fields in the student handout to indicate where those insertions should occur. If you want, you could even place your notes in a single document, bookmark the various chunks, and then use multiple INCLUDETEXT fields with a bookmark parameter to reference the chunks in the notes file. Within the student handout you can format the fields as hidden text and then print with or without hidden text visible to get your desired printout.

You might also look to augment Word with another program. In Word 2010 you can use OneNote to assemble your notes and link them to your student handout. This process is best described in this tutorial from Microsoft:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/onenote/better-together-word-and-onenote-HA102737477.aspx

Finally, you can abandon Word altogether and use a different program that may be more suited to what you want to do. For instance you might use PowerPoint to actually create the handouts and notes. While we most often think of PowerPoint as a way to make overhead slides, a slide could just as easily be formatted to represent a piece of paper. Your student handout would be made in the "slides" portion of the presentation and you can then add notes to each slide, as desired. When it comes time to print you can choose to either print just the slides (for the students) or the slides and notes (for you).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12434) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating Two Versions of the Same Document.

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

Cleaning Up a Document that Mixes Styles with Direct Formatting

Need to get rid of direct, explicit formatting applied to a document? Here's an easy way to do it using familiar Word tools.

Discover More

Passing a Data File Name via Command Line to a Macro

Using the command line to pass paramaters to a program is a common occurrence. Using the command line to pass parameters to a ...

Discover More

Using Cross-References in Footnotes

Need to make a cross-reference from one footnote to another footnote? You can do it if you throw bookmarks into the mix, as ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Using Tags with Document Files

Tags are a way for you to store keywords or metadata with your document files. They can be helpful when you are trying to ...

Discover More

Document is Too Large for Word to Handle

Imagine trying to open a familiar document one day, only to find that Word gives you an error message that the file is too ...

Discover More

Creating Multiple Blank Documents in One Step

Word makes it easy to create a new, blank document. What if you want to create more than one document at a time, however? ...

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. 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 6 - 0?

2013-12-24 09:04:14

John McMullen

Oh--and of course, you can create a style called, oh, Teaching, that isn't part of the numbered list and then you won't have the awkward numbering problem--you're trading the shift-enter solution for one where you have to remember the style, but whatever macro makes the note hidden for you can do that, too. The existing standard style List Continue (I think; I don't know if it's in 2013, but I think it's in 2010--unless I created it and it just got included when I upgraded) is an example of that. That would make the hidden text option nicer.

However, if you're sending out electronic copies, you don't want the text as hidden text; the teaching notes will be available to the students. To fix *that* you'd need to clean the hidden text or INCLUDETEXT fields out of the document and save under a new name (with _To_Send appended or something).


2013-12-24 08:58:11

John McMullen

This is a common problem for people trying to write one source file, and a set of macros I got from a newsletter in Australia implements a hidden-text-and-tagging method: each paragraph is tagged with a label, and it provides a way to select which labelled text you want to appear.

With INCLUDETEXT, you can have the notes in a single document because you can include only bookmarked text. So, for instance, suppose there are two files, Handout.docx and Notes.docx. The notes are labelled with bookmarks (say, the topics of the handout sections: Nucleus, Mitochondria, Ribosome--I use biological examples because I was a biologist once). To include them, you name the bookmark name; you don't need a switch:

INCLUDETEXT "Notes.docx" Ribosome

(I've left out full pathnames and field indicators.)

It might be an advantage to have only two files to work with, rather than a dozen or two dozen subdocuments. I can see it as an advantage sometimes, and a disadvantage other times.


2013-01-14 09:49:37

Philip Ulanowsky

This is an excellent write-up, Allen. I puzzled over the question. Your extended walking through of a variety of solutions is instructive, not only for this problem but for appraoch such issues in general.


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.

Newest Tips
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.