There is a preference (Edit > Preferences > File Handling > Links > Create Links When Placing Text and Spreadsheet Files) you can set that allows you to place text files as a link or or not. When that pref is ticked a Word file that you place becomes a link where if you make changes to the Word file after placing InDesign will notice and you get the option to update it. Alternatively you can Embed it which removes tat link and makes it static inside InDesign.
The reason you never get both is they toggle this state.
I tried checking on and off the box "Create Links When Placing Text...". You're correct that this is what makes imported Word files appear or not appear in the Links Panel.
However, the Word files I'm talking about have already been placed. They are already in the Links Panel. I want to unlink them, but sometimes I only get the option to embed them. Is that the same thing? Why do they stay in the Links Panel after I embed them?
I have a large Word file (1000 pages) that I'm editing as a single InDesign document.
I'm using Indesign CS6. When I place the Word file into my ID doc, I am unable to prevent it from putting the Word in as a link. Even if I turn off the "Create Links When Placing Text..." selection, this happens.
So okay, but I worked on the ID doc for a couple of days, and then I happeend to change the Word file, and I didn't want ID to do a "relink" as I didn't want to wipe out my in-ID edits.
ID hung and froze when I told it not to relink. I used Task Manager to turn off ID, then opened my ID Doc and tried to Unlink the Word Doc in the Links dialog, and again the program hung and froze.
I changed the name of the Word Doc so ID wouldn't keep wanting to use it. Then I got a warning exclamation point on each page. Plus a hang and freeze.
And then my document refuses to open at all. I'm having to start over. This time I'll make a copy of my Word document and label it DONT_EDIT, and place that and be sure never to open that Word doc again...