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

Looking Up Names when Key Values are Identical

Need to look up some values based upon some key items that may be identical to each other? Depending on the characteristics ...

Discover More

Reverse Numbered Lists

Adding numbered lists to your document is a snap; Word provides tools to add them immediately. What Word doesn't do is ...

Discover More

Displaying Keyboard Shortcuts

A quick way to accomplish tasks in any Google Drive application is to rely on a handy collection of keyboard shortcuts. There ...

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)

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

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 four less than 6?

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.