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: Checking Your Data File.

Checking Your Data File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 16, 2013)

Word includes a powerful feature called Mail Merge that allows you to combine a document with data from a data source to create individualized documents. Once you have created your main document and your data file is attached, it is a good idea to run a final check by comparing your data file with your document. To do this, simply open your main document. The Mail Merge toolbar should be visible near the top of the screen.

Near the middle of the Mail Merge toolbar is a button with a check mark on it. Click your mouse on this button, and your data file will be compared against your master document to ensure that all your fields are correctly formatted and accessible. If Word encounters any problems (such as a missing data field in your data file), it will notify you. This allows you to correct the problem before actually trying to create your final merged documents.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1371) 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: Checking Your Data File.

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

Word Abnormally Ends when Maximizing Program Window

If Word crashes when you maximize a previously minimized instance of the program, it is a sure sign that there is ...

Discover More

Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs

If you get a document or some text that has multiple consecutive spaces used to align information, you'll undoubtedly be ...

Discover More

Decreasing Space between Body Text and Footer Text

Figuring out how you want the text in your document to appear on the printed page can sometimes be a bit perplexing. Word ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

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 6Mpixels. 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 five more than 7?

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.