Changing Subdocument Status

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 8, 2014)

Working with documents in a master and subdocument relationship can have its advantages, but there may be times when such a relationship is not exactly what you want. For instance, you may have a subdocument that represents standard boilerplate text you use in several master documents. If you need to make a custom version of the text for a particular document, making the changes to the subdocument won't yield the desired results. This is because any changes you make to the subdocument are reflected in the other master documents that include a reference to the subdocument.

Instead, you need to remove the subdocument and include its text directly within the master document that requires the specific and unique changes to the text. To accomplish this task, follow these steps:

  1. Open the master document and make sure that all your subdocuments are displayed.
  2. Switch to Outline view by clicking your mouse on the Outline view button in the lower-left corner of the screen or by choosing Outline from the View menu.
  3. Make sure your subdocuments are expanded. Word displays each subdocument with a box around it and an icon at the top left of the box.
  4. Position the insertion pointer somewhere within the subdocument whose status you wish to change.
  5. Click on the Remove Subdocument tool on the Outline toolbar.

At this point, the subdocument reference is removed, but the subdocument text remains. That text is now part of the master document, and you can change it without affecting the subdocument of which it used to be part. (It is interesting that Microsoft decided to call this tool "Remove Subdocument," since it does not literally do that.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (883) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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