what is the TRUE advantage of using a master document instead of a normal document?

thank the developers, we can link documents in documents…
this means one can put together a book of many chapters which could be treated as individual files…

but, wait a minute, what are master documents good for then?
cause normally, this would be their specialty … handling large texts with many sub documents…

don’t get me wrong,
I am VERY happy with using a normal document as a “mother document” and linking several docs in it…
and I don’t wish this to be abolished :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I’d only like to know what the heck master documents are supposed to be good for?
what advantages do they practically offer in terms of speed and ease, and workflow logic?

for I think it’s fairly possible that having “a master document” with extra privileges whatsoever is an old-fashioned concept… as opposed to any document being able to function as that… (as a master document, or mother document, as I like to call it :slight_smile: ) not to mention that normal documents, functioning as “mother documents” can be further linked in other documents, too…
I mean, this concept seems to be (much) better…

I don’t intend to use a master document… I’m very happy with Writer without master documents, but I’m curious :slight_smile:

thanks in advance,


There is one scenario where Master documents are essential: one document with several authors. If you need to build a single document (a technical manual for a product, for example) where each chapter is developed by a different person, and the final editing is performed by yet another, also different person (I’ve been there), a Master document is a must.

Master documents can also be interesting when translating a bigger document: breaking a big book into smaller chunks (maybe one file for each chapter) that are easier to handle can seriously reduce the translator’s stress, specially if there is a need to combine everything with external tools.

In a nutshell: the fact that you don’t need something does not mean that that something is useless or a relic of an old age :wink:

Most of the time, specially when I’m the only author, I don’t use master documents, but I’m really grateful they are there.

There is a case where master/subdocuments are invaluable: contracts or other legally binding docs.

Contracts have usually the same structure with slightly varying clauses. You never write a contract from scratch. This will cause potential inconsistency or errors (not all writers know perfectly subtleties of trade legalese).

Some experts have written down clauses with their use context explained. These clauses are stored in (supposedly well structured) library. When a contract is to be issued, the redactor picks up the clauses and their variants adapted to the case.

Ideally, the redacting act should be driven by a “configuration utility” able to detect conflict between clauses. But this is outside Writer.

Master/subdocuments feature is adapted to situation where the same text bits are reused in several independent documents.

There is perhaps a secondary case: a very huge document to split in smaller parts for performance purpose though present computers allows to handle easily documents bigger than 500 pages without noticeable impact (provided there are not too many frames and other generated items).

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Note that master document’s style definitions take precedence over the same style definitions in the linked documents. That means that you may have your resulting documents to be formatted according to different style sets when using different master documents with same linked documents.