General Question about Master Documents

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General Question about Master Documents

Postby DorVLind » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:13 am

I've lost yet another set of files to MS Word's extremely buggy master document feature. It's been years since I've used Open Office, and I wanted to get some more information about the current state of the master document feature before I try to convert a large batch of files and reassemble them into different master documents. (I've read through the documentation wiki pages on master documents, but that only tells me how to use the feature. I looking for more "meta" information about the feature and how well it works. I'm extremely gun-shy at this point, but I can't come up with a better workflow for these documents than a master document!)

If you use the master document feature extensively, can you tell me how well it works for you?
Is it reliable? Do you have any issues with your files (master or sub-document) getting corrupted?
Can you use the same sub-document in different master documents? Are there any traps to watch out for? (All documents use the same template, so styles and such should be fine.)
What's your process for editing sub-documents from the master document navigator? Any issues?

And the big one:
Would you recommend the master document feature?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Re: General Question about Master Documents

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Dec 24, 2015 12:26 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'm not a heavy user of master documents but I do use it in some cases.
I would say that it is as much reliable as a standard document. It allows cross references between sub documents, this is a rather nice feature.
You can use a sub-doc in as many master docs as you want. It's better if all the documents use the same template so that the styles are available and consistent in all the docs (master & subs).
When I need to edit a sub doc, I usually use the Navigator from the master doc.
I use daily a document that is now more than 26MB. I tried to split it in sub-docs but in fact it takes more time to load as a master doc than as a single file. So I kept working with a single file.
I think that the best use in a collaborative mode when different writers have to make parts that need to be assembled in the end.
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Re: General Question about Master Documents

Postby RoryOF » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:32 pm

I often use large documents, in the thousands of pages. I have never found the need to use Master Documents, although I can see their use in some circumstances, such as reusing sections common to a number of documents and also in assembling a collaborative work.
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Re: General Question about Master Documents

Postby DorVLind » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:49 pm

RoryOF wrote:I often use large documents, in the thousands of pages. I have never found the need to use Master Documents, although I can see their use in some circumstances, such as reusing sections common to a number of documents and also in assembling a collaborative work.


Yeah, I'm actually trying to reuse sections in different combinations. I haven't come up with a better approach to editing the pieces than a master document (short of going with a DITA XML editor, which is a lot of work for a side project).
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Re: General Question about Master Documents

Postby acknak » Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:18 am

You don't have to use master- and sub-documents for this. You can insert a section that links to an external file, document, or section.
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Re: General Question about Master Documents

Postby RoryOF » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:07 am

Consider searching for "Content management"; the requirement to re-use existing sub-documents often arises in the building of complex contract/quotation documents and there are commercial applications to do so. There have been published some open source and hobbyist approaches to such a task. Add the words "OpenOffice macro" to your search to find some of these. Because of the code overlap between OpenOffice and LibreOffice it is often worth searching for solutions on both platforms.
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