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Merging to Individual Files

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Merging to Individual Files.

When you use the mail-merge feature in Word, you have the option of either printing your results directly or creating a new document. If you choose the latter option, the resulting document contains all the information that normally would have gone to the printer. For instance, if your merge document is a two-page letter, each letter in the resulting document is separated by a section break. Thus, if you are merging the two-page letter with 150 different addresses, then you would end up with a 300-page document with 150 section breaks (one every two pages).

For some people, it would be more helpful if you could merge to individual files. For instance, given the above example you might want 150 individual document files, each two pages long. Unfortunately, that is not one of the options available when using Word's mail-merge feature. The only answer to accomplishing this task is to create a macro that will, based on the merged document (the 300-page one mentioned above) take each section and save it to its own document file.

If you look in Microsoft's Knowledge Base, you will find that there is an old article that deals with this very issue:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/216201

The macro presented in the article, even though it was written for an older version of Word, will work just fine in later versions. It allows you to separate a merged document into individual files, based on the section breaks:

Sub BreakOnSection()
    'Used to set criteria for moving through the document by section.
    Application.Browser.Target = wdBrowseSection

    'A mailmerge document ends with a section break next page.
    'Subtracting one from the section count stop error message.
    For i = 1 To ((ActiveDocument.Sections.Count) - 1)

        'Select and copy the section text to the clipboard
        ActiveDocument.Bookmarks("\Section").Range.Copy

        'Create a new document to paste text from clipboard.
        Documents.Add
        Selection.Paste

        'Removes the break that is copied at the end of the section, if any.
        Selection.MoveUp Unit:=wdLine, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
        Selection.Delete Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1

        ChangeFileOpenDirectory "C:\"
        DocNum = DocNum + 1
        ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:="test_" & DocNum & ".doc"
        ActiveDocument.Close
        'Move the selection to the next section in the document
        Application.Browser.Next
    Next i
    ActiveDocument.Close savechanges:=wdDoNotSaveChanges
End Sub

It is important to realize, however, that this macro will only work if the only place that section breaks occur is between merged documents. If your original document includes section breaks, then the macro will not provide satisfactory results. For additional information on using the macro, refer to the Knowledge Base article at the link provided above.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1538) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Merging to Individual Files.

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Comments for this tip:

Julian Mackenzie    23 Jul 2014, 16:00
I ran the macro a first time and it worked very well indeed. On my second attempt it would only save the first page of a 2 page document and I cannot work out why. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Thanks
F. Zohra    08 Jun 2014, 08:55
Very useful tips.
To do mail merge I use data saved in excel,is there a way to force the code to save the file using one of excel field. e.g. save as order # (order # is not in series)which is in my excel column after merging the files and spliting it. please help
Barjesh Syal    20 May 2014, 10:00
Very nice code... Its great...
Loren    19 May 2014, 13:16
OK, I figured out how to paste it with original formatting: instead of Selection.Paste, use Selection.PasteAndFormat(wdFormatOriginalFormatting).

But it is still pasting the section break, or something, so each document has an extra empty page at the end.
Loren    19 May 2014, 13:06
Thanks. This works great, except that VBA ignores my line spacing when it pastes, so the formatting is messed up. When cutting and pasting using the mouse, the spacing is not messed up. Do you know a simple way of modifying this code so that it will preserve things like line spacing? Thanks again.
Lisa Hochhauser    30 Apr 2014, 13:06
Thanks for this macro. Saved me a lot of time!


Two suggested upgrades to this script would be to

1. Let you save it in the location you started from rather than the C drive.

2. Use the first few words of the file to name it (ala word's saving method)

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