How do I create a master document in Microsoft Word?

You can use a master document to style a range of documents, like dissertation chapters, ready for printing.

    • In My Documents , create a new folder and move each of your individual documents into it.

Open each in turn and define the different parts of each document with Styles ( How do I do this? ) then save and close them.

Open a new Word document, click on View and the Outline.

screenshot of choosing outline view

Save the new document the folder you have just created; this is now your master document

In the master document modify the Styles you chose in your individual documents to suit your preferred document layout ( How do I do this? )

In the Outlining tab, select Show Document then Insert to add a chapter into the master document.

screenshot creating word master document

  • Add the rest of the chapters and Save.

  • Now on the View tab, select Print Layout to see the Styles applied to all the subdocuments in the master document

Points to note with master documents:

  • The first page of each master document is blank.
  • In Outline view you can place your cursor at the beginning of a subdocument and click on the - and + buttons in the toolbar to show or hide the subdocument text.
  • When re-opening a master document select View, Outline, and Expand Subdocuments.
  • You can continue to open and edit the individual documents in Word if you wish; next time you open the master document it will display any changes you have made (and vice versa).
  • If you are adding page numbers in a master document, you need to add the numbers to each section however thenumber order will automatically "Continue from previous section"
  • The master document must stay in the same folder as the subdocuments or it will not work.
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