Software for Writers: Chapter by Chapter
In my series on Word 2007, I discussed how to use Word’s Master Documents feature. In a nutshell, Master Documents allows you to put a long document like a book together from chapters or parts created as separate documents.
Creating a Master Document isn’t all that hard, but it’s a little fiddly – you have to get the styles just right and you need to set everything up from the beginning for best results. Sebastien Berthet emailed me about his solution to the same problem, a program he created called Chapter by Chapter.
Chapter by Chapter is a free
plugin companion (Update: Sebastian tells me that the program stands alone and therefore is not technically a “plugin”) for Word – it works with Word 1997 through Word 2007 – that allows you to pull together multiple documents into a single longer one. In addition, the program places an outline view in a pane to the left of your editing window, allowing you to jump back and forth between the various pieces of your manuscript with ease. When you’re done, Chapter by Chapter handles the task of compiling the documents.
Since Chapter by Chapter uses the built-in cut-and-paste function to assemble the final document, it doesn’t have the same file and text corruption issues Master Documents users sometimes run into (although Word 2007 fixes a lot of those problems, too) – only the text and basic formatting is moved, not all the underlying options and style information that Word dumps into its files.
More importantly, while you need Word to do the work of outlining the document and assembling the pieces, once a document is associated with your project you can use any word processor to work on it (as long as you don’t change the file format). Which means you can transfer the document to a Palm or Windows Mobile device and edit it on the go, or stick it on a flash drive and work on it with whatever software a computer at the library, Internet cafe, or parent’s house has installed. When you come home, copy the revised document over the original, fire up Chapter by Chapter, and you’re good to go.
Ultimately, Chapter by Chapter just provides a more elegant interface than Words Master Documents and Document Map features. Sebastien has made a lot of effort to make Chapter by Chapter easy to use, and to make it work well with other tools writers might use (like SuperNoteCard). Especially if you’re using pre-2007 versions of Word, you should definitely look into Chapter by Chapter.
Chapter by Chapter (Free)
I downloaded the software, Chapter by Chapter, and I must say, its a very handy program! Thanks for posting this!
I love Chapter-by-Chapter. I hear MS Word has something called ‘master document’ that works the same, but the file can get corrupted. This program works like a dream. I love the streamlined easy to use way its designed.