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Merging Graphics into Word Documents

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 Graphics into Word Documents.

The mail merge feature in Word is extremely powerful, and you can use it to easily create customized versions of documents from information in a data source (such as a Word table, an Excel worksheet, or an Access database). Normally the mail merge feature is used to merge text into a document—items such as a customer name or a part number. There may be times, however, when you want to merge a graphic into your document.

The key to merging graphics is to make sure that you don't try to merge the graphic itself, but to merge a field that "points" to the graphic file. For instance, you might have an Excel worksheet that contains a group of real estate listings. Just make sure you set up your worksheet so that it contains the file address of the graphic you want to merge. Each record in the worksheet should have a complete drive name, path, and file name (in a single column) for the graphic associated with that record. The following is an example of such a file address:

d:\listings\myhouses\smithhouse.jpg

For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that you named the column PictureLocation. When you create your merge document in Word, you can include a merge field such as this:

{INCLUDEPICTURE "{MERGEFIELD PictureLocation}" \d}

Notice that this is actually two fields within one. It is important to make sure that you include the quote marks, as indicated. When Word merges the document, it replaces the MERGEFIELD field with the data indicated. Thus, the example would become this:

{INCLUDEPICTURE "d:\listings\myhouses\smithhouse.jpg" \d}

The remaining INCLUDEPICTURE field is then translated by Word as a directive to include the noted picture.

It is important to remember that after you perform your merge operation in Word, it may appear that your graphic merge didn't work properly. To speed things up, Word displays the same picture for each of the INCLUDEPICTURE fields. Thus, your merged document will appear as if it contains multiple instances of the same picture. This simply occurs because Word doesn't update the INCLUDEPICTURE field for each record it merges. To force this, simply select the entire document (Ctrl+A) and press F9 or print the merged documents. (Word updates all fields prior to printing.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1548) 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 Graphics into Word Documents.

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