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How to Insert the Contents of One Word Document into Another

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When working on a document in Word, you may find that you need to insert text from another Word document. Maybe you’re collaborating with others and combining multiple pieces, for example.

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There is a better way to collaborate on documents in Office 2016, but there may be times when a fellow collaborator needs to work offline and they send you a document to integrate into the main document. So, we’ll show you how to insert the contents of a Word file into another Word file for situations where online collaboration is not an option. (Sure, you could just open the second document and copy and paste its text, but the method below is often faster.)

For the purposes of this article, we’ll call the file being inserted the “source” file and the file into which you are inserting the source file the “target” file.

To insert the contents of a source Word file into a target Word file, open the target document, place the cursor where you want to insert the source file, and then click the “Insert” tab.

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In the “Text” section, click the “Object” button and select “Text from File” from the drop-down menu.

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The “Insert File” dialog box displays. Navigate to the folder that contains the source file you want to insert and select the file. Then, click “Insert”.

NOTE: You can also insert text from a text (.txt) file.

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The entire contents of the source file (text, images, tables, etc.) will be inserted at the cursor in the target document.

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When inserting text from a source document that has styles using the same names as in the target document (for example, the “Normal” style), the style in the target document takes precedence. If you want to keep the formatting of the text from the source document, make sure the style applied to that text in the source document has a different name than any of the styles in the target document. So, if you want the text from the source document to look like the text in the target document, such that the formatting is consistent, you’re good. All you have to do is insert the file or part of the file as we described in this article.


You can also insert text from a text (.txt) file, but you have to insert the entire file in that case, because you cannot add bookmarks to text files.

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We previously described a trick where can put common content into one Word document and reference it in other Word documents. The content will even automatically update in all your documents if you change it in the common document because the two are linked using a field. That feature is different from inserting files as described in this article because when you insert content from a source file into a target file, there is no link between the source file and the target file. So, when you change the content in the source file that content is not updated in the target file.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 02/26/16

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