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: Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents.

Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 14, 2014)

When you use the mail merge feature of Word, you have the capability to either merge to the printer or to merge to a new document. Choosing the latter is often the best alternative, since you have the ability to inspect your output before actually printing.

What happens if you need to only print a portion of your merged documents, however? For instance, if your merged document takes 320 pages, and you only need to print the last 15 of them? You might think the answer to print only a range of pages, meaning pages 305-320.

If you try to do this with a mail-merged document, you will not get an expected result. In fact, you will get no result at all. This is because Word inserts a section break between each merged record it adds to your document. Thus, if you are printing 320 copies of a single-paged document, you have 320 page ones, not pages 1 through 320.

Sound confusing? It can be if you don't understand how sections work. Every time a new section is started, Word starts counting page numbers over again. To get around this problem, you have three alternatives. First, you can simply start deleting pages until you only have your desired pages remaining. (I call this the brute force method, and it is not always the best choice.) Second, you can simply replace all the section breaks in the merged document with line breaks. This is done by following these steps:

  1. Choose the Replace option from the Edit menu, or press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter ^b. This is the code for a section break.
  4. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is available. This removes any formatting specifications in what you are searching for. (You may need to click on the More button to see the No Formatting button.)
  5. In the Replace With box, enter ^m. This is the code for a page break.
  6. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is available. This removes any formatting specifications in what you are replacing with.
  7. Click on Replace All.

Now you can print as normal, entering a range of page numbers you want to print.

The third solution is perhaps the fastest and easiest, however. Simply remember that in your merged document you are working with sections, instead of pages. Thus, if you want to print out the form letter for records 305 through 320, you would follow these steps:

  1. Choose Print from the File menu. Word displays the Print dialog box.
  2. In the Pages box, enter s305-s320. Note the inclusion of the "s." This indicates you are specifying a section range, as opposed to a normal page range.
  3. Click on OK. Your desired information is printed.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1126) 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: Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Capital Corrections

If you type two capital letters at the beginning of a word, Word assumes that you made a typing error and will attempt to ...

Discover More

Forcing a Worksheet to be Protected Again

Excel allows you to protect your worksheets so they can only be changed as you want to have happen. If you unprotect a ...

Discover More

Unhiding Columns that are Persistently Hidden

If you were trying to format a worksheet and nothing you did could make the first two columns appear, would you be ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.