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: Controlling Date Formats in a Mail Merge.

Controlling Date Formats in a Mail Merge

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 1, 2017)

2

David is performing a mail merge using data stored in an Excel workbook. Part of the information being merged is a date. The date is formatted correctly in Excel, but when it is merged into the Word document it loses the formatting. Specifically, it appears as "09-23-2012" but should look like "Sunday, 23 September 2012." David is wondering how to get the formatting on the date that he needs.

There are two things you can try. First, you could check to see what method Word is using to grab the information from the Excel workbook. The default data transfer method is OLE (object linking and embedding), which means that the data is transferred as raw data and Word does it's best to format what it fetches. You can change the data transfer method when you select the Excel workbook in the merge process. Word should display a dialog box that asks how you want to have the data transferred; you should select either a DDE transfer or the Excel by Conversion option.

If you don't see the dialog box, then it means you need to configure Word so that it will present the dialog box. Just exit from the merge and follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Choose the General tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The General tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Confirm Conversion At Open check box is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

If all this talk about conversion methods, OLE, DDE, and the rest has your head spinning, take a moment and breathe deeply. You are in luck; there is another way you can get the date format you want without worrying about any method of data transfer. You can add a formatting switch to the merge field used in your document. If you display the field codes (instead of their results), the field usually looks similar to this:

{ mergefield MyDate }

This presumes that the name of the data field, from Excel, is MyDate. You can modify the merge field so that it includes a formatting switch, in this manner:

{ mergefield MyDate \@ "dddd, dd MMMM yyyy" }

The use of the \@ characters indicate that what follows is a pattern for how the date should be formatted. In this case, the date will show similar to "Wednesday, 26 September 2012." Full information on how to put together the date patterns can be found at the Word MVP site, here:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/TblsFldsFms/DateFields.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3878) 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: Controlling Date Formats in a Mail Merge.

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

Anchoring Comment Boxes in Desired Locations

Want your comment boxes to appear someplace other than the right side of a cell? You may be out of luck, and here's why.

Discover More

Word Won't Maximize

Sometimes, for whatever reason, your computer might not display Word or other programs properly. There are a few things to ...

Discover More

Clearing Only Filtering Settings

When you filter data in a worksheet, Excel also allows you to apply sorting orders to that data. Here is a behind-the-scenes ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Using Merge Fields

When creating a mail merge document, you use merge fields to indicate where the information from each record of your data ...

Discover More

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

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 ...

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. 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 6 - 0?

2014-08-07 01:35:40

Anand

My date of Birth is 11 December 1998

11-12-1998


But it is converted as
(Thursday, 12 November 1998


2014-07-17 07:44:33

Nagesh

When I tried doing the method by using @ "dddd, dd MMMM yyyy" option, word always displays the name of the day i.e., dddd as day corresponding to current month only. It will not bother about the actual day if month MMMM is different than current month. If the date entered on exell sheet is 22-08-14, for the above date format in July, it displays "Tuesday, 22 Aug 2014" It happens for any month other than current month. Please let me know how to solve this.


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.