Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Size Limit for Documents.

Size Limit for Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 31, 2016)

Tyler has a document that contains quite a bit of information, and he keeps adding to it regularly. The document is now over 4,000 pages in length. The length has concerned him a bit, so he thought about breaking it up into subdocuments. However, doing so concerns Tyler, as he's read all sorts of horror stories about working with subdocuments. He wonders if there is a limit on how large his document can get before he starts having problems crop up.

The answer depends on the complexity of the documents you are using, and page count isn't a "big deal" when it comes to complexity. The official decree from Microsoft is that documents have a size limit if 32MB for the text content:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/211489

Note, as well, that the size limit for documents containing all content (such as graphics, embedded content, etc.) is 512 MB. Once a document is loaded into your system, Word also requires additional file storage space on your hard drive for the use of temporary files. (For this reason you'll want to make sure that wherever you are saving your document has plenty of free storage space.)

Of course, you may start seeing poor performance with large documents depending on other factors, such as the amount of memory in your system, how complex the document is, whether it is stored on a network or not, etc. Each document is going to be rather unique in this regard.

It is a good idea to pay attention to things like load time and save time. In other words, how long does it take to load and save your document? If you notice that these are getting longer and longer, you may want to consider breaking up your document into smaller logical units, such as chapters or sections. Put each chapter or section in its own file, and then work with those individual files.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (732) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Size Limit for Documents.

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. ...

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