Within a WordprocessingML document, it is sometimes necessary to break a large document into two or more separate WordprocessingML document files, allowing each of these files to be distributed, edited, and handled independently.


When a WordprocessingML document is comprised of other WordprocessingML documents in this way, the resulting documents are called a master document and its subdocuments.

  • A subdocument is a WordprocessingML document - there is no specific information in a document which classifies it as such, other than that it is incorporated into another document.

  • A master document is a document which incorporates one or more subdocuments (as well as optional WordprocessingML content) to create a larger document


To allow this document to be written by multiple authors, each chapter in the book is placed in a separate file (the sections highlighted in red below):

The result is three WordprocessingML documents:

  • A master document (containing the title of the book, the first paragraph, and references to the subdocuments for each chapter)

  • Two subdocuments (one for each chapter)