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Error Message: at least one subdocument or the master document is locked

Posted on 2008-10-25
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I am assembling a master document out of existing documents.  I successfully included a subdocument, which then appeared as part of the master.  I made unrelated changes to the master, saved it and exited word.

When I attempted to reload the master, I got the message: "At least one subdocument or the master document is locked".  However both master and subdocument are unprorected ("unrestricted access" in the "Protect Document" section of hte development tab.

In addition, the buttons Create, Insert etc in the "Show Documents" section of the Outlining tab are grayed out.

This happened once before.  Closing and restarting word fixed the problem, but not this time.  How do I get out of it?
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Question by:DanHamm
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by:Patrick Matthews
Patrick Matthews earned 100 total points
ID: 22805269
Hello DanHamm,

I know this is not the answer you want to hear, but it is the best I can do: stay far, far away from master
and sub documents.  One of the top Word Experts here (and past Microsoft MVP for Word), Dreamboat
(aka Anne Troy), put it best when she said there are only two kinds of such documents: those that are
corrupt, and those that one day will be.

In her excellent book, _Dreamboat on Word_, she lays out instructions for handling.  She also does so here:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Office_Productivity/Office_Suites/MS_Office/Q_20274181.html#6850179

Regards,

Patrick
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Accepted Solution

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DanHamm earned 0 total points
ID: 22805430
Thanks Patrick.  I was afraid that this might be the case.  It is my experience that MS just can't handle complexity beyond a certain point (or at least don't think it worthwhile for a feature that only a few users are likely to use).  My thoughts on MS project (a not for the masses, and not for massive projects, but just right - dream on - for people like me) don't bear repeating ...

Thanks for the link.  I had seen something like it before, but thought that they might have tried to get it right for 2007.

Will keep question open for a while longer in the vain hope ...

Regards
Dan
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