Word 2003: Create separate mail merge documentsJune 15, 2009
The client from a week or so ago was very pleased with the mail merge document I had created for them. Then they asked if they could get separate documents for each mail merge instance and save them automatically, using the organization’s name in the file name. They are a government department and need to keep separate records of each funding request, which was the purpose of the mail merge document in the first place. So this was not an unreasonable request. Should be easy, right?
What I thought would be a quick thing to do ended up taking a couple of hours of testing, searching, testing some more, followed by hair tearing. ;-) You’d think Microsoft would make this easy, but they don’t. In fact, it’s not something you can do from within the standard Word commands at all — you have to either add VBA to the Word document, purchase a separate application, or download a file someone else created that solves this problem. You’ve got to think that this would have been a common request for all the years that Word’s had a mail merge feature.
Anyhow, on to the solution, which is found here: http://www.gmayor.com/individual_merge_letters.htm
PLEASE NOTE: Graham Mayor's webpage was updated on 19 January 2012 (see his comment for this date below), so the rest of the information in this blog post MAY NOT be relevant. I haven't tested the new version. (Rhonda)
Problem: That webpage is a jumble of Word 2003 and 2007 options, troubleshooting options etc. It’s hard to get a clear picture of what you have to do to get it to work. So in the interests of making their steps nice and clear, here’s what you have to do in Word 2003 (I haven’t tested in Word 2007 yet — if I do, I’ll write a separate blog post for those steps).
- These steps must be done on the computer of the person running the mail merge — it’s not something that can be incorporated into the master mail merge document, nor something that can be done on a server.
- The mail merge document must already exist.
Download and install the Word add-in
- Close Word.
- Close Outlook. (Check Task Manager to make sure there are no running winword.exe and outlook.exe processes — kill them if there are.)
- Go to: http://www.gmayor.com/individual_merge_letters.htm
- In the first paragraph after the PayPal Donate button, click the link to Word Add-in-template and download it to the local machine. It’s a zip file called MMtoDocs.zip.
- Unzip and extract the contents from the zip file. You’ll get two folders — one for Word 2002-3 and one for Word 2007.
- Open the Word 2002-3 folder and copy the MMtoDocsRev37(Word 2003).dot file — it’s the only one in there. (Note: This post was written in May 2009, so the Rev number may be different for your download.)
- Open Windows Explorer if you’re not already in there.
- In the Address bar, type %appdata%\Microsoft\Word\STARTUP then press Enter. This takes you straight to the STARTUP folder.
- Copy the MMtoDocsRev37(Word 2003).dot file into the STARTUP folder.
Create the mail merge split template
- Open your mail merge document.
- You’ll see a new Word toolbar button called Create Template for the Merge Document (it may be floating) — click it.
- You’ll get a warning message that the template will overwrite any other template of the same name. (BTW, the template name is SplitMerge.dot, but you shouldn’t have another one with that name in your Templates folder if this is the first time you’ve done this.) Click OK.
- A new document that looks just like your mail merge document is created, called SplitMerge.doc (the title bar shows the new name). Your original mail merge document is not touched.
Run the mail merge
- While you’re in SplitMerge.doc, run the mail merge as normal by clicking the Merge to New Document icon in the Mail Merge toolbar.
- You’re asked which records you want to merge. Make your selection and click OK.
- Now you’ll get asked some new things — first, whether you want to create a separate doc for each record. You do, so click Yes.
- Next, you’re asked which of the mail merge fields you want to use for each document’s file name. Select a field — for my client, I chose the organization name field.
- Leave both check boxes as they are (the first one is checked, the second isn’t).
- Click Browse. Navigate to, then select the folder where you want to save all the separate mail merge documents.
- Click Continue.
- All your individual files for the record range you selected are created one by one, and each gets the file name of the mail merge field you selected at step 5.
And that’s it! Very clever!
If you get errors, check the original webpage (http://www.gmayor.com/individual_merge_letters.htm) for the likely cause and solution.
And if this has just saved you a heap of time, consider making a donation via PayPal on that website to Graham Mayor, the guy who developed this solution and made it available for free.