Definite's Extractor

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Tag Archives: Microsoft Word

The “Proper” Way to Use Microsoft Word Master Document

Long story short, don’t use it, use field IncludeText instead.

As a DevOps/software engineer, I prefer to keep my files (even the MS word documents) consistent and synchronised.

I am looking for jobs and sending my resume to two kinds of organisations: public sector and industry. Public sector jobs usually require referees, while in industry, referees are not mandatory. So I have two types of resumes: with or without referees.

Why don’t I just use the one with referees? Some international recruiters are not aware of time differences and just call you in the most inconvenient time. I have received a call at 4:30 am, when all of my family are sleeping. So that’s why I am reluctant to include referees in my industry resume.

To keep both branches in sync, I though the master document was a good idea, until I saved and opened the master document, and I see mess, just as describe in Why Master Documents corrupt. And I saw an interesting quote:

There are two kinds of Master Documents: Those that are corrupt and those that will be corrupt soon. – John McGhie

I have also tried auto text in “building block”. The main problem of that is: I have hard time to locate them. I cannot remember whether I save it in normal.dot or buildingblock.dot . When I need to update contacts several months later, I will probably forget they are in auto text.

Eventually, I found that the field IncludeText actually helps. But there are CATCHES:

  1. The insert field command is also not easy to find in UI. Search “Insert field” is more reliable. (The search field is at “Tell me what you want to do”)
  2. You need to manually input the filename, there are NO file dialog for you to choose.
  3. If the document is on OneDrive, the full path in local drive WON’T WORK. You need related path to OneDrive\Documents. For example. If the sub document, referees.docx is in the directory OneDrive\Job and your main document is also at OneDrive\Job, you need to insert ../Job/referees.doc to the field IncludeText in your main document.
  4. URLs in sub documents need to be well-formatted. In other words, for email addresses, user@example.com WON’T work, you need mailto:user@example.com
  5. Even if you do enter the correct URLs, MS Word like to show them as it pleases. It is up to MS Word to decide whether to show the URL as URL or plain text.

I uses Office 365, so version-wise it supposes to be always the latest. Perhaps I should have written the sub-documents as HTML+CSS and version control them.

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