What to Do If Word Won't Save a Master Document


Word's capacity for managing subdocuments varies with the number of files and programs you have open, how much memory your computer has, and other factors specific to your system. It is possible to run out of resources while you're trying to save a master document. If Word won't save a master document, try this:

  • First, cancel the save; close any other open programs and files, and try again.

  • If this doesn't work, convert some subdocuments into text in the master document by selecting them and clicking Remove Subdocuments. Then try saving again.

If you find that your system can't support the master document you're trying to create, you have some alternatives. You can, of course, simply copy text from your source documents. Or you can use Word's Insert File feature, covered earlier in the "Inserting Files Rather Than Using Master Documents" section of this chapter.

What to Do If Your Subdocuments Disappear

Did you select a level from the Show Level drop-down list on the Outlining toolbar, while only hyperlinks were displayed in your master document? Word thinks you want to see only headings and body text, and it can't find any?all it can see are hyperlinks. First click Expand Subdocuments and then click Show All Headings.

What to Do If a Master Document Becomes Damaged

Recovering a damaged master document can be a very complex process?one that takes several pages to explain. You can find a comprehensive explanation of the process at

What to Do If You Can't Access Subdocument Controls on the Outlining Toolbar

If the subdocument controls on the Outlining toolbar are unavailable, first click Expand Subdocuments. If they are still unavailable, your master document or subdocuments may be locked. Click the Lock Documents button to toggle locking off. If you cannot unlock the subdocument or master document, contact the document's owner to be given permission to do so.

If none of the master document controls is available, click the Master Document View button on the Outlining toolbar.

What to Do If You Save a Master Document to a New Location and Subdocuments Don't Follow

Unfortunately, if you save a master document to a new folder, Word does not automatically save all subdocuments to the new folder; it keeps them in their original location. You must open each subdocument from within the master document, and resave it to the same location where you saved the master document.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word