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With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
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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: Grouping Records in a Mail Merge.
Erin wants to do a mail merge using source data that is in an Excel worksheet where it is possible for a given individual to have multiple rows of data. She notes that if she was using SQL she could use "GROUP BY" to make sure that all the records of a given individual were grouped together. She wants to "group" records so she can put all the records for a given individual into a single merge document.
This is not something that can be done with Word's mail merge capabilities. In fact, the merging is rather limited when it comes to such matter, generally taking information as it is fed from the source document. This means that it may be best to examine the source and do any sorting, condensing, and selecting in the workbook before you do the merge. There are numerous ways that you can work with your data, including the removal of duplicate records or using macros to condense duplicate records into a single record. (Full information on some of these methods can be found on the ExcelTips site: http://excel.tips.net .)
The other option is to forego Excel and place your data in a real database program, such as Access. There you can do many types of processing—just as you can with an SQL database—in order to create views of information (queries) that can be used as the source data for a Word mail merge. This would allow you to easily use the GROUP BY capabilities that you seek.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7451) 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: Grouping Records in a Mail Merge.
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