Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Mail Merge' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Automatically Determining a Due Date
When you are doing a mail merge in Word, you may need to calculate a date sometime in the future. Word doesn't include an option to do this, but there are a couple of workarounds you can try.
Beginning a Mail Merge
Performing a mail merge can be intimidating to some people. It needn't be; Word provides step-by-step wizards that lead you through the process. How you use these wizards is dependent on the version of Word you are using, however.
Can't Merge Alphanumeric Data Correctly
When you merge data from Excel into a Word document, you may need to do some conditional processing based on the data you are merging. This can lead to some screwy results at times. Here's an example and how to fix it.
Can't Place Merge Field in Header Of a Catalog Merge Document
Word can perform several different types of mail merge operations, and the type you choose can affect how you are able to use merge fields in the merge document. This tip explains how catalog merges are different from other types of merges, and how that affects placing merge fields in a header or footer.
Checkboxes in a Merged Document
When creating a mail-merge document, you may want to include some special characters, such as check-marked boxes, in the document. This is relatively easy to do by putting together the proper type of merge field, as discussed in this tip.
Checking Your Data File
When you get ready to merge a document with a data source, you'll want to make sure that everything is "as expected" before proceeding. Here's how to check out the information in your data file.
Conditional Processing During a Mail Merge
The Mail Merge capabilities can appear limited at first glance. One thing that is often overlooked (and which makes the capabilities more powerful) is the ability to add conditional processing to your merges. Here's how to conditionally control how Word handles merging.
Conditionally Adding a Period in a Mail Merge
When merging data into a Word document, you may want to add information to the document based on an evaluation of what is being merged. This can present a special challenge, as outlined in this tip.
Controlling Date Formats in a Mail Merge
One of the data sources that Word allows you to use for your mail merges is an Excel worksheet. You may get unexpected results, however, if you believe that the formatting used in Excel should merge smoothly into your Word document. This tip looks at how you can control the formatting for dates.
Creating a Mail Merge Data File
An easy way to perform a mail merge starts with creating a data file in a Word document. This tip shows how you can create the data in a document in a tabular format that can be easily understood by the mail merge feature.
Creating Files with Mail Merge
When you use mail merge to create a document that incorporates all your data source records, you end up with a large document that is divided into sections. You can use a macro to easily split such a document into individual files, one for each data record.
Data Source File in Word 2003
The security features introduced in Word 2003 resulted in a change in the dialog boxes you see when opening mail-merge source documents. It is easy to be confused by the dialog boxes, but this tip helps to remove some of the confusion.
Getting Rid of Blank Labels in a Filtered Merge
If you are filtering a mail merge in Excel, and you get blank labels in the printout in Word, chances are good that something is going wrong. (Filtering should suppress those blank labels.) This tip provides some guidance on what you should look for in your merge document to get the desired results.
Getting Rid of Mail Merge Section Breaks
When you create a group of documents from a merge file, Word normally inserts section breaks between iterations of the document. If you need to get rid of those section breaks, there are a couple of approaches you can take.
Getting Rid of Spaces in Merged Data
When you merge information with a Word document, you may not be completely satisfied with the appearance of some of the merged information. For instance, a merge field may include spaces within the information that you would rather remove. Here's a couple of ways you can get rid of those spaces.
Grouping Records in a Mail Merge
Need to group records in some manner when they are used in a mail merge? It can be frustrating when your records are not ordered in the way you want, but this seems to be a limitation of Word. The solution is to look to how you are organizing the data in the source program.
Mail Merge and Data Source Documents become Unattached
When you create a mail merge document, you attach it to a data source that is the basis for the information to be merged with the document. Word remembers the relationship between the two files when you later open the document. If you send the two files to someone, it is possible for the relationship to be lost. This tip explains why this can happen.
Maintaining Fields in a Merged Document
When merging documents, you may want to include some fields in the merged documents. For some fields this is impossible, as to include them would make no sense.
Maintaining Leading Zeroes
When merging ZIP Codes from a data source such as Excel, you might find that Word ends up dropping out leading zeroes in the ZIP Codes. Here's how you can make sure that those digits are not dropped.
Merging and Printing
When you merge information into a document, Word provides two different ways you can create your output. Here's an overview of those output options and how you can choose them.
Merging Formatted Data
Using the mail merge feature of Word, you can make data from Access databases accessible for your documents. How information is stored in the Access database can affect the way that data looks once merged into Word. This tip discusses ways you can make phone numbers appear formatted properly in Word.
Merging Graphics from Access
An Access database can store all types of data, including graphic images. Merging most data from Access into Word is relatively easy, except when it comes to graphics. This tip explains why this is the case and ways you can work around the problem.
Merging Only a Date from Access
When you are merging data from an Access database, you may get more information than you want, especially when it comes to times and dates. There are two potential solutions to this problem, both of which are detailed in this tip.
Merging with Two Data Sources
Setting up a Word mail merge to combine a data source with a merge document is easy. But what if you want to use two data sources? Well, depending on what you want to do, you may be out of luck.
Opening Only a Merge Document
After merging the information from a data source into a document, you may decide that you only want to open the merge document from that point on. This tip explains how Word treats the files involved in a mail merge.
Picking a Starting Label
If you use the Labels feature in Word, you may want to specify which label to use as the starting point when printing. Here are a few options to try.
Printing Multiple Label Copies when Merging
Need to print more than one copy of mail-merge labels? There are a number of different approaches you can take to getting the number of labels you need.
Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents
When you use a data source to create a bunch of documents in a mail merge, you might not want to print all the documents created by Word. Here are a number of ways you can print just what you want to print from the merge.
Proper Comparisons for Dates in Merge Fields
How Word merges a data source with a document is controlled by merge fields. In those fields you may want to compare dates to determine what Word displays. Here's a primer on how these comparisons occur.
Selecting Different Trays in a Mail Merge
When you create a mail-merged document, you might want some pages of the document printed on paper from one printer tray and other pages printed from paper in a different tray. This can be easily accomplished when you create your merge document to begin with.
Speeding Up Mail Merges
The Mail Merge tool in Word is a great way to create new, customized documents. If you are doing a lot of merging, you may notice that your merges slow down after a time. This tip discusses some of the possible reasons.
Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents
Mail merge can be used to put together groups of documents that rely on common information. This tip shows how mail merge could be used to make your document generation easier.
Using Merge Fields
When creating a mail merge document, you use merge fields to indicate where the information from each record of your data source should be inserted. This is easy to do, but the tools you use to place the merge fields depend upon the version of Word you are using.
Using Unique Document Serial Numbers
If you need to include serial numbers in your printed matter (labels, letters, documents, etc.), the best way is through the use of Word's mail-merge capabilities. This tip outlines how you can use this capability to get just the serial numbers you need.
Wrong Values Merged from Excel
When you use an Excel workbook as a data source for your merged document, you may be surprised if what is merged doesn't match what you see in Excel. This could be due to how Excel formats and displays numbers and how those numbers are shared with other programs, like Word.