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Chapter 20. Master Documents: Control an... > Creating Master Documents and Subdoc... - Pg. 579

Master Documents: Control and Share Even the Largest Documents 579 The master document doesn't merely gather the subdocuments in one place: It integrates them, enabling you to set unified styles and document templates that can apply to every subdocument. Using master documents thereby helps you maintain visual consistency throughout large docu- ments, even if many authors are contributing to them. No matter what formatting is attached to styles in your subdocuments, when those subdocuments are displayed as part of a master document, they all use the formatting associated with styles in the master document's template. So if you stay with a basic set of headings and other styles, you're virtually assured of consistent formatting. In addition, when you display subdocuments as part of a master document, all cross- references, footnotes, outline numbers, and page numbers are automatically updated to reflect the new location of the subdocument within the larger document. In fact, master documents behave very much like regular Word documents. You can format them, save them, and print them just as you would any other document. Master documents are extremely helpful in organizing complex projects. As you'll learn later, you can organize a project using a Word outline, divide the project into subdocuments, and delegate those subdocuments to your colleagues as needed. There's one final benefit to using master documents. Because Word usually works faster when editing smaller documents, working in subdocuments rather than a much larger main document can significantly improve Word's performance during mundane editing tasks. Caution Before going further, it's worth pointing out that master documents have traditionally been buggier than most other Word features. We've found them fairly reliable thus far in Word 2002; however, if you choose to use them, it makes sense to save backups often.