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OpenOffice Writer User Guide
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Why use a master document?

Master documents are typically used for producing long documents such as a book, a thesis, or a long report. A master document is especially useful when graphics, spreadsheets, or other material causes the file size to become quite large. Master documents are also used when different people are writing different chapters or other parts of the full document, so you don’t need to share files. A master document joins separate text documents into one larger document, and unifies the formatting, table of contents (ToC), bibliography, index, and other tables or lists.

Yes, master documents do work in OOoWriter. However, their use is full of traps for inexperienced users. Until you become familiar with the traps, find out whether they affect what you are doing, and learn how to avoid (or work around) them, you may think that master documents are unreliable or difficult to use. In fact, avoiding or working around most of the traps is quite easy to do.

You can use several methods to create master documents. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Which method you choose depends on what you are trying to accomplish. The different methods are described in this chapter, along with suggestions on when to use each one.

OpenOffice Writer User Guide
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