When has Master Document finished updating?

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When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby PhibunMike » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:36 am

Hi,
I am using Writer 4.0. I have a master document with about 40 sub-documents, including many graphics. When I open the master document, I confirm 'Update all links'. It takes several minutes for this to complete, which I am quite happy with. My problem is that I don't know when it has finished. Currently, I keep checking the page count and updating the table of contents, to see if it changes. But sometimes when I think it has finished it still hasn't. This has led to me exporting to a PDF file before pagination has completed, resulting in an incorrect PDF file.

I would be grateful if someone knows a sure way to check re-pagination has finished.

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby John_Ha » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:14 pm

Mike

The only way to check when it has finished is to scroll through it and look. But if you scroll while it is updating it seems to make the gaps worse...

However, if you have successfully had it update properly before, and know it is 246 pages long, then wait till you see 246. When you see numbers less that 246, it hasn't finished; when you see numbers greater than 246 it is managing spills. Selecting Update > All several times may be necessary and each update has less to do, so finishes quicker..

I use a master document with about 40 small sub-documents, where the final file is about 12 or 14 A4 pages. There are typically about 30 images and the rest is text. Even so, it takes about 25 seconds (just timed it) to do it the first time, when everything needs to be laid out. If you watch bottom left corner, you will see the page count Page 1 / n. I think n shows the page currently being laid out - don't scroll down till this stops changing.

What I THINK happens is the following:

When you have images in the sub-document, OOo needs to place them in the master document. You often get a situation where "there isn't enough space to put the image on this page, so spill the image to the next page. This releases space on this page, so pull text up from the next page to fill the space. This text brings the image up with it. Thee isn't enough space on this page to put the image so spill the image ..." and OOo goes round in circles a few times. Eventually, OOo stops and depending where it stops, you have the image on this page; or the image on the next page, with a gap on this page. Scrolling while laying out seems to make it worse and you get lots of gaps in the master. Tables often get split with gaps appearing.

So, to speed up the update, layout the sub-documents so that they don't need reformatting when brought into the master document. The most important single thing I have found is to use identical page formats for all sub-documents and the master. Make sure images are not positioned right at the top or bottom edge of the page - ensure there is a small gap (a mm will do) - to guarantee the image doesn't project over the edge and get spilled during the update. I would have thought it was best to ensure each sub-document starts on a new page, and it's probably a good idea to have one blank page as the last page of each sub document (insert a new page with one line of blank text at the top, and the rest empty so if anything spills, it should be caught on this page and not propogate through to the next sub-document). If all your sub-documents run on together, you can see that if an image on page 1 of the master spills it will mean that every following page has to be re-laid out and this will take for ever.

So, tips are

1 Ensure the page format in the master and every sub-document is identical, and by identical, I mean ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL. Remember, the page format and styles of the master document are set in the mandatory text required in the master document. I have set up a template for sub-documents which guarantees every sub-document has the correct page format and styles so it does need re-laying-out when it appears in the master.

2 Ensure the styles are the same in every sub-document and the master. For example, the default text in the sub-documents should be exactly the same as the default text in the master, otherwise the sub-document has to be re-formatted. This might cause an image to spill and everything goes pear shaped.

3 Have each sub-document start with a new page, and end with a blank page to catch any spills. Remove the blank pages at the very end, just before final publication.

4 When you get gaps, click in the preceding (and/or following) sub-document and Update > Selection > Update. This only updates that sub-document

5 Don't scroll or edit or do anything while it is updating - this seems to cause gaps

6 I have found it best to attach all images etc To Character (or possibly To Paragraph), but not As Character, and definitely not To Page. This gives Update most flexibility in placing the image.

So, the basic idea is "try to do all the formatting yourself in the sub-documents, and limit what formatting Update does, so Update doesn't have to do much work" and "try to ensure that an update of one sub-document only causes spills etc in that sub-document, and these changes don't spill over to the next sub-document, which then spills into the next, and the next ...".

You can then remove the blank pages just before you issue the final document. And don't forget you can create an odt file from the master document by File > export as > and choose odt. You then need Format > sections > and unclick Link and Write protect and you can now edit this single odt file. But only do this as a last thing (useful to send the odt file to someone else for proof reading) because you can't go back to the master from it.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby RoryOF » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:08 pm

I have no experience with Master Documents, but I note that on large (80/120K words) writer documents, it can take a minute or two to establish all the headings, any hyperlinks and Comments. So my advice is not to rush it - let it load while you hang up your coat.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby acknak » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:15 pm

PhibunMike wrote:... This has led to me exporting to a PDF file before pagination has completed, resulting in an incorrect PDF file.
...

I would report that as a bug--it clearly should not happen that way. Printing--which pdf export is closely related to--waits until everything is updated before sending anything to the printer, so I would expect pdf export to also wait.

In fact, maybe starting out with File > Print, waiting until the print dialog is ready, then cancel and export would be a viable workaround for you.

NOTE: I've never tried this with a master+sub-docs; I only know that the print dialog seems to trigger a document update and the print dialog doesn't appear until that finishes.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby PhibunMike » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:32 am

Hi John,

Thanks for your detailed reply. I do ensure the sub-documents and master document are formatted the same, by using the same template for all. It seems to me that sometimes the page number count in the corner doesn't update until I update the table of contents - but I might be mistaken.

The other recommendations are also good. I'll try try a print and go make a coffee :-)

My document compiles to about 200 pages of A4. Graphics are misplaced during pagination, but end up in the right place. Overall I think master document is an excellent feature, as I write manuals for different products that share common chapters (but not always with the same chapter number in each manual). Oo handles this scenario brilliantly.

Thanks again everyone for your replies. This was my first query in this forum, it has worked out well.

Mike
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby John_Ha » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:37 pm

PhibunMike wrote:Overall I think master document is an excellent feature, as I write manuals for different products that share common chapters (but not always with the same chapter number in each manual). Oo handles this scenario brilliantly.

I completely agree - master document is absolutely magic.

I produce a village magazine of about 14-18 pages of text which is 40-60 short "articles". I don't like articles spilling over page breaks, and I have to end up with an "even number of sides" because I print on paper. Each "article" is in an individual odt file as a sub-document, even if it is only two or three lines long. I then use clipart to expand the articles to fit exactly onto each page. The capability to drag articles up and down in Navigator is unbelievably simple. Using OOo beats MS Publisher DTP hands down for ease of use.

A key factor for me is that layout is divorced from editing - while I am dragging files around to shuffle the order of the articles, there is absolutely no possibility of accidentally editing one by a mistakenly hitting a key or a mouse movement. I have now done about 50 - 60 magazines over the past 5-6 years and OOo has never failed me although I am patient when the gaps appear and always scroll to the bottom to check for gaps before printing. It is a small price to pay for the other benefits.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby acknak » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:32 pm

John_Ha wrote:... I produce a village magazine of about 14-18 pages ...

Interesting approach! Do you have any available on line--as pdf, maybe? I'd be interested to see the final product.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby John_Ha » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:52 pm

acknak

I have placed two files in Dropbox

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100 ... gazine.ZIP contains all the individual odt files, the template and the master document

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100 ... rinter.pdf contains the final magazine

I share the editing with a co-editor, and we both intend uploading a tutorial on using OOo for a magazine. Master makes it just magic. My co-editor and I are both retired IT professionals and we did a fairly rigorous study with the objective of making the whole process as simple and as quick as possible. We evaluated MS Publisher, used by the previous editor; Serif PagePlus and Scribus DTP but once we found that master worked with such small sub-documents, we were sold on it. We thought that while DTP was great for single pages, OOo Master Document was much better for multi-page documents. We have written quite a few macros to simplify the editing by standardising things like sentence endings, smart quotes, punctuation, times, dates etc.

We inherited the page sizes from the previous editor, which means the advert pages are a different page format from the text pages. So we create 6 documents per magazine

Front cover outer .. Front covers could be one document
Front cover inner ..
Master - text
Master - adverts - all advert pages are tables so we can easily change one advert with affecting another
Rear cover inner .. Rear covers could be one document
Rear cover outer ..

We print to PDF (and are very careful about our PDF image handling settings) and merge the pdfs with PDFSAM.

There are limitations - for example we can't do multiple columns, and we don't have a "flow onto the next page ..." capability, but so be it. We entered it for a UK "Best village magazine" competition and came 35th out of 410 entries.

I'll take the files down in a day or so - they have contact details of lots of people and I don't want them farmed.

We are very close to automating the whole process - we just need to write a macro to measure the length of each article; and a pik-n-mix packing routine to juggle article lengths to fit the page lengths and bingo - almost automatic layout. Doing it manually takes about an hour. This PNG file is an image of the screen when laying out in Master document.
Attachments
Clipboard02.png
Image of Master document screen.
Last edited by John_Ha on Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby acknak » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:45 pm

John_Ha wrote:... We entered it for a UK "Best village magazine" competition and came 35th out of 410 entries.
...

I'm not surprised: very nice work!

I've done a testin/prototype newsletter with OO Writer, and the result was surprisingly good (if I do say so) but it was far more work than I'd want to do every month and mine was only about 8 pages.
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Re: When has Master Document finished updating?

Postby John_Ha » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:13 pm

acknak wrote:I've done a testing/prototype newsletter with OO Writer ... but it was far more work than I'd want to do every month and mine was only about 8 pages.


That's one advantage of having two editors - we don't have to worry about arranging our lives round the magazine, we arrange the magazine around our lives.

And doing it this way is (relatively) very quick. When we get the emails with the content, we immediately create the odt file - it's a minute to copy and paste the text, run our macros to format it, spell check and save it. That load is spread over the month.

After the deadline, pull them all into the master, shuffle them to fit the pages, add clip art to spread articles to fit the page breaks, collect the dates in the diary. Send it to the other editor to proof read, and he finds lots of errors :( Fix the typos, print the PDFs, merge PDSs and send to printer.
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