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How to merge multiple documents into single merged document? [closed]

asked 2013-06-18 11:24:59 +0200

L-user gravatar image

updated 2016-02-18 10:49:20 +0200

Alex Kemp gravatar image

Lets say two coworkers are working on the same Writer document using the same software LibreOffice Writer 4.0.3 on Windows XP. Name them Alice and Bob. At start of the day, they have one single document name it start_document.odt and each of them gets exact copy of this document, lets name the documents Alice's_document.odt and Bob's_document.odt. During the day they mostly work on different parts of the document. They work separately, they don't have a contact during the day. After the day is over they would like to merge there documents into one single union merged document lets name that document final_merged_document.odt. And this merged document should be a starting point of next day.

I thought I could use Edit | Changes | Records and after Edit | Changes | Merge. But as I understand it only works for original and changed documents, not multi-user merge documents? Isn't it?

Lets try to do a sample.

Start_document.odt content:

First chapter
Second chapter

Alice does the following:
1) Opens start_document.odt.
2) Edit | Changes | Records.
3) After "First chapter" add some text like: This is Alice's text. So after the change is made the following test appears:

First chapter
This is Alice's text.
Second chapter

4) File | Save and names the file Alice's_document.odt.

Bob does very similar.
1) Opens start_document.odt.
2) Edit | Changes | Records.
3) After "Second chapter" add some text like: This is Bob's text. So after the change is made the following test appears:

First chapter
Second chapter
This is Bob's text.

After the day is over they would like to merge the text and so final text should be:

First chapter
This is Alice's text.
Second chapter
This is Bob's text.

I tried the following:
1) Open start_document.odt.
2) Edit | Changes | Merge.
3) Selected Alice's_document.odt and Accepted all of the changes. So far no problem.
4) In the start_document.odt I have repeated step 2 and selected Bob's_document.odt and I am getting an error message: "Could not merge documents."

It doesn't really tell any useful info, why merge can't be done. Any idea how to solve this problem?

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Closed for the following reason the question is answered, right answer was accepted by Alex Kemp
close date 2016-02-18 10:49:31.963827


@L-user - Typo? For "Bob does very similar...", should step #3 be: 'After "Second chapter" add some text...'? Other than that, very clear question for potentially complex situation!

David gravatar imageDavid ( 2013-12-24 22:48:29 +0200 )edit

David, it was a typo. I fixed it. Thanks.

L-user gravatar imageL-user ( 2014-01-05 08:40:33 +0200 )edit

2 Answers

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answered 2013-06-18 11:41:17 +0200

oweng gravatar image

This method appears to do what you require:

  1. Open one of the documents.
  2. Edit > Compare Document...
  3. Select other document.
  4. Accept/Decline individual changes. Note that an addition by author A will show up as a deletion in the document by author B (as it is not in the document authored by B).
  5. Once done, make this merged copy the new master copy.
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It looks like there is no need for Edit | Changes | Record in this case. Just two documents are changes are looked at it. Interesting. Thanks. Vote +1.

L-user gravatar imageL-user ( 2013-06-18 12:29:48 +0200 )edit

Yes, this is a usage of inappropriate function causing inconvenience and very high probability of error in case of larger documents. (e.g text added by other user is marked as deleted and you need to choose "reject" if you want to keep it ;-) Because of, it shows what changed in the new document in comparison to the previous one.) But in case, the right function doesn't work, this is still better, than merging it manually. We use it as well, unfortunately, very often. :-(

ivos gravatar imageivos ( 2013-08-09 13:33:36 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-08-09 14:24:42 +0200

ivos gravatar image

updated 2013-08-09 14:28:12 +0200

The merge function is exactly, what you need and I tested it with merging more documents from more users and it worked. BUT, almost only in the test. This means, in practise one of the later mentioned problems or some another one occurred, so it didn't worked in most cases. So try avoid these problems and in case, it doesn't work use the solution with compare function, but be very careful what to approve and what to reject.


  1. For the merge function is crucial to have set ON the switch "Edit|changes|Record" the whole time in all of the documents, so no change is done without tracking. Practically, if you switch "Record" and makes changes, then stop "Record" and add a space and switch "Record" again and continue with changes, you never mention it and you will be never able merging the document with another. Up to now it's not so bad, but LO switch "Record" OFF by itself sometimes :-D For me, one of the cases is after merging a document. ;-) But, if you switch it ON again without changing the document, it works.
  2. Until you merge ALL of the documents, you can't Accept nor Reject anything.

Good luck

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Asked: 2013-06-18 11:24:59 +0200

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Last updated: Jan 05 '14