Merging several documents into once document in Word 2010
June 10, 2016 3:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm helping a friend format an edited volume for submission to the publisher. I have 12 chapters, each with different formatting. I need to put them all into one document, in order, and remove all the formatting quirks from chapters 2-12 so that they match the formatting of chapter 1. Is this possible?

I'm working on Word 2010 on a Windows box. Some chapters have headers and footers, which I need to remove entirely, I want the entire thing double spaced, single font and font size, etc. Chapter 1 is formatted how I need them all to be. Can I, somehow, insert chapters 2-12 into the chapter 1 document and have it apply the formatting of chapter 1 (no headers or footers, page numbers, font size, font, spacing) to the merged-in chapters 2-12?

The publisher--a skeezy 'academic' press that shall remain unnamed--won't do ANY of this, which is horrid, but I volunteered to do it for pay. I can do it the slow way--open each document, format it how I want it, and then paste them consecutively into one master document--but that seem unnecessarily laborious.

How can I do this with a bit more efficiency? Thoughts?
posted by still bill to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You may get more elegant solutions than this, but my quick n' dirty way of doing this is to:

1. Save each chapter/document for 2-12 separately as a .txt file, which strips out all the formatting (you can also just paste into notepad)
2. Then open up your original source file for chapter 1
3. Paste in the remaining chapters from your .txt file and apply whatever styles you've used for chapter 1

I trust you're using set style formats and applying them via the ribbon, yes?
posted by mochapickle at 3:57 AM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Open the master doc. On the insert window, go to the dropdown next to object and select text from file. Select the file, repeat as necessary.

For the formatting, just define the format in chapter one as a style, then apply that style to the whole document. I think you have to remove headers/footers manually, but other than that it should work.
posted by mishafletch at 3:57 AM on June 10, 2016

Yeah, i do this for a living and i won't add text to a Word document until i know all formatting as been stripped. But, before i do it, i do a find and replace on a copy of the original fike for italics/bold with highlight, so when i apply new styles, i don't miss previous formatting. But seriously, do not cut and paste (even as plain text) and do not insert object (word document). It looks like it should work, it should work, but some little formatting gremlin infects the entire document, and suddenly you're applying an innocuous style and you now have your table of contents in comic sans and it's right justified, and nothing - NOTHING- you do will fix it without changing your references to bold Rockwell 20 pt, and that's when your business takes off, even though you tell all your clients that you will convert their 1000 page document collection to plain text and then go page by page putting back their special formatting, because you are the ONLY person in the country who seems to be able to produce a 1000 page document with 100 photos and same number of tables, and its actually stable. But also, when you send it back for checks, send it as PDF as well, because no doubt some dickhead changed without knowing what they were doing and your very careful and sensible styles (on your PC) will suddenly revert to Papyrus centred at 6 pt on their machine.

Also, when i supply this stuff to publishers, i provide PDF of complete document, word of complete document, individual chapters in word, images as high res as i can convince authors (not much) and a separate document where i explain styles and editorial decisions, names of figure image files and captions and so on. Sense doesn't care much. Springer does. Palgrave wants to know if I'm interested in moving from Australia to London, but my cats get travelsick.
posted by b33j at 4:24 AM on June 10, 2016 [19 favorites]

Don't do what mishafletch suggests. It should work and is a great idea but don't do it. Unless you're interested in removing your own hair tuft by tuft. Mochapickle has it, but its worth setting up a blank document with your styles before you paste chapter 1. Read your publishers guidelines, but don't use their template - invariably it was created last century and contradicts their style guide which they care about more than their useless fucking template which will crash and burn.
posted by b33j at 4:28 AM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh and I've been formatting books for publishers for over 10 years and use every efficiency i can invent (including a very cool search for acronyms) and it will take a minimum 20 hours but usually closer to 40. It's tedious. Play your music loud and think of it as long play Tetris.
posted by b33j at 4:30 AM on June 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

Have you tried messing with the paste options? I'd use either "paste text only" or "merge formatting."

Immediately after you paste something to word a small icon appears below your new added bits. Hover over it and it lets you change the way you've pasted. From your description it sounds like either of those options would work for you.
posted by eisforcool at 9:51 PM on June 10, 2016

Be aware that plain text (.txt) files strip out even the most basic formatting, like bold, italics, font sizes and the like. You'll need to reapply that formatting if you go that route.

One option that might be useful to you is to use one of these Word HTML cleaners which gives you HTML that is mostly devoid of Word-specific formatting but still retains enough basic formatting to be useful. You can then use that to paste into your master document and hopefully save some time trying to replicate every little bit of incidental formatting.
posted by Aleyn at 4:56 PM on June 17, 2016

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