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Recently I tried to use the master documents feature. (In the end, I gave up because it's pointless if there's lots of direct formatting and you need to change font sizes for the different versions.)

I hope this feedback will be useful to someone.

p356: Lack of clarity about whether toggle is of a view of the document or just the navigator window itself (it's the latter)

"If you are starting a new project, create the master document and all the subdocuments from the same template."

Need to clarify what is meant by template docs. Is there such a thing as a template version of a .odm file, as there is (.ott) for a .odt file?

Needs to clarify how to create a master document that contains the styles you want - since if the styles are not in the master document, the style definition will come from the first document inserted that provides that style.

So, also need to clarify whether the style is then a property of the master doc or the subdoc.

No scenario for my use case:

You have one existing document from which you wish to produce variant versions (e.g. different page sizes), with most content shared.

I also discovered that File>Send>Create Master Document has no option to avoid creating a plethora of unwanted files, as the minimal split is at the chapter level. The workaround for this is to create a copy of the file, delete all but one chapter, and use that to create the master document - as the first step.

Not obvious how to create a 'template' master document you could use for a series of books, because it's not obvious whether the .odm should have associated template .odt files (or .ott files?), or just text on appropriate pages saying "Insert your <which subdoc file needed> here".

E.g. in my case I need four master docs structured like this:

Part

        

Location

Title (cover) page

        

Common subdoc Title

(/if /it can adapt to diff. page sizes)

Publishing details w. ISBN

        

In each master doc x 4

Acknowledgments

        

Common subdoc Ack

Novels by…

        

Pbks: Common subdoc NovelsBy

eBooks: In each master doc x 2

All Chapters

        

Common subdoc Body

Other books, please review links

        

Pbks: Common subdoc EndLinks

eBooks: In each master doc x 2

Sample chapter

        

Common subdoc SampleN+1


p358: Wrong instructions for creating a template

Step 2 instructs: "You can create a template from an existing document or template that contains some or all of the page, paragraph, character, and other styles you want for this document[...]. Be sure to use File > Save As Template when creating the template."

a) There is no File>Save as Template. There is a File>Save As which allows you to choose the type .ott for template. This is a very plausible interpretation of the instructions. I suspect it's wrong (because if you try to open a template you create that way using the instructions in Step 3, you can't). Step 3 says: "Open a new document from the template you created in Step 2, by choosing File > New >Templates, then selecting the template you created."

b) Chapter 10 describes the correct process: Use File>Templates>Save As Template

p364: Restart page numbering

It says "On the Outline & Numbering tab, set the Outline level to Level 1 (Figure 370). This ensures that the heading will appear in the Table of Contents along with the other chapter headings. The Numbering Style for this heading is None, as it was not assigned an outline
level through the Outline Numbering dialog."

The last part seemed counter-intuitive to me, so I ignored it and let the new chapter heading para style have numbering enabled just like the style it inherited from.


p366: Changing the appearance of the master document

"Do not make changes to styles in the master document or in any of the subdocuments; make those changes in the
template."

Again, it's not clear what is meant by "the template", although it is starting to sound increasingly like it means a literal .ott file. In which case there needs to be better guidelines about how to create a non-template doc from a template doc. (How to create a normal doc instance from a template doc.)



Enhancement requests needed to make workable master docs:

p367: When you see a Caution box and above it a note that says "The process to create cross-references between subdocuments is time consuming, but it works", you know there's a missing feature.

Ref p370: Need an option to export a normal, editable.odt file instead of a write-protected one.

Ref p371: When master doc imports a subdoc and a page has images anchored to the page, the anchor should be automatically changed to either the corresponding page in the master doc (preferable), or if that is not technically possible, then the anchor type should be changed to anchor the image to the nearest paragraph above the image on the page.

p358 Create subdocuments

Create a subdocument by opening a blank document based on the project template by File>New>Templates, picking the required template. Then save As.

Also discovered there is no information about how to add multiple Text sections to a master document, even though several of the illustrations show master documents with more than one. Older help documents (https://help.libreoffice.org/3.6/Writer/Working_with_Master_Documents_and_Subdocuments#:~:text=To%20add%20text%20to%20a,text%20entry%20in%20the%20Navigator. <https://help.libreoffice.org/3.6/Writer/Working_with_Master_Documents_and_Subdocuments#:~:text=To%20add%20text%20to%20a,text%20entry%20in%20the%20Navigator.>) say there should be an "Insert - Text" option if you right click in the master document's Navigator pane. There is no such menu item.

*Experiments:*

Master doc: you can't trust the Font or size fields in the master doc.

E.g. it said the text of the subdoc was Georgia 9pt, but if there's direct formatting, it's formatted as per the DF, not what the document para style says it should be.


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