Combining thesis into one document


Hi all,

I’m on the final end of my thesis - but I’ve had ongoing problems with getting feedback from my supervisor. It’s pretty much all written now - 3 results chapters published too, 1 near acceptance, and the final one about to be submitted.

I’m trying to arm wrestle my primary supervisor for the last bits of feedback on the intro/lit review and my concluding discussion chapter - both also written.

I’ve repeatedly asked my supervisor to advise timelines and set a submission date. It’s literally all written now. Seperate word docs for each chapter. Today he tells me to set submission as MAY this year as he’s busy, and to allow for any delays.

I think he’s lost sight of how much is already done and published. He’s also just completely asleep at the wheel when it comes to doing anything.

I want to just compile all chapters onto one word doc and send to him so he can see it is polished and close to done, just awaiting his feedback.

Psychologically, I just need this submitted. It’s written well. I’ve spent years honing my writing as a craft - he won’t need to do a lot of work. For my publications I’ve not needed to change much once I’ve got to a good draft stage.

My Q - if I compile all word doc chapters together now - how easy is it to still do any minor edits that may be needed (not major ones) - how big is too big for a word doc? Will I still be able to work with it without having my computer have a brain aneurysm?

Have any of you just worked within one whole doc all along? How big did your file get?

I want him to see that it’s pretty much complete NOW. I can’t wait until May to submit. It’s almost ready now and we had agreed on early Feb or so.

I’m so over unaccountable supervisors!!!’


I would have started working from a full doc in the last 3 months of my thesis, while I was waiting on final comments from my PI. My final doc was 430 pages and 6.5MB. I never had an issue working from it (use a laptop that was given to be on day 1 on my PhD, it was old and sluggish).
I found to work around the document etc, I needed to have heading and subheading in the table of contents, in order to prevent scrolling.
From experiences, formatting takes longer than you think.. so I would start now. I would also recommend conversion a word doc to PhD every so often to see how it will look when printed, I found blank pages, large spaces etc by doing this

Avatar for rewt

Depends on how big your files are our and does your computer have any issues. If not the sky is the limit. As Nead says, it is a lot easier to edit a combined document but it there is nothing wrong keeping separate files. I personally keep my chapters separate but have a custom template to make formatting consistent and use all the autoformatting tools. Though from the sounds of it you are nearly there if you have 3-4 publications. To be honest I don't think you should worry about your supervisors feedback that much as you clearly are good enough and have done the hard work already. I know it is easy to strive for the prefect thesis but if you have 4 publications no examiners will ever fail you.

Nead, 6.5MB for entire thesis is small, or maybe my chapters are big as one of my chapters is 30MB! I have to send my chapter via dropbox because of all my bloody 300 DPI Graphs.