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. ...


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