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Create and Use the Word 2010 Master and Subdocument Feature

Master documents in Word are documents that merge together and hold links to several smaller documents. Their purpose is to support the management of large documents by allowing the user to “fold” up the subdocuments into links, thereby leaving the master document with an organized framework.
To see how this works, first create a document that has several sections in it, denoted by typing some sort of heading on a line by itself. The example we’re going to use here has some opening text, and then five sections denoted as Section One through Section Five. Before formatting, it looks like this:
Document original formatting
This document will serve as our master document, while the sections inside of it will become our sub-documents

Note: For master/sub documents to work, you must press the Enter key after the section name:
Next, convert the sections to the automated Heading 1 style, like this:
Format with Headings
Once you have your document ready click the View tab on the main ribbon, then click the Outline Icon:
Outline Icon
That should make your document look something like this:
After Clicking the Outline Icon
Notice how when you click on the different parts listed, how the Level number changes in the Level number box:
Level Number box
Subdocuments must be at least one level higher than the basic Body Text of the original document.
Next, click the Show Document icon to make the subdocument  icons appear:
Click Show Document Icon
Then, highlight a section heading and the associated text below it, like this:
Highlight Section to Create Link
Then,  click on the Create icon:
Create Icon
Your first section should expand to look like this:
After Connecting
Do the same for the rest of your section headings, then click on the Expand Document icon; that will cause a popup to appear asking if you’d like to save the document, click Ok to save it. Doing so will save not just your current master document, but will create a separate file on your hard drive for each of your subheadings, like this:
Subheadings listing
Next, click the Collapse Subdocuments icon:
Collapse Subdocuments
To make your document look like this:
All subs collapsed
Here, Word is showing you that it has created a link to each of the subdocument files it created and saved to your hard drive.
Now, to see what all this has done for you, click on the Close Outline View icon…
Close Outline View
…to get this:
Master Document with links in it
This is what your master document looks like now (when it’s not in outline mode anymore) with all of the subdocument links, instead of the actual text for them. Using them this way allows you to see your whole document in separate sections, or pieces, rather than as one big unit.
This is particularly useful if you are writing something long, such as a book with lots of chapters. You can shrink them all down this way, and then open and edit just the individual chapters, rather than having to work on the whole book all the time; then, when you want to open the whole thing, just click on the View tab, click on the Outline icon, click the Expand your Document icon, then Close Outline View, to see your document this way…
Finished Product
…which is how it was written in the first place.
The Master/Sub document feature of Word is useful for long research papers, dissertations, short story collections or any other document that can be divided up easily into sections.

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