Word: Reattach Excel mail merge data source

September 27, 2011

A few times my colleagues and I have experienced the situation where a mail merge template lose its connection to its data source (in my client’s case, an Excel spreadsheet). I suspect it’s because Word is storing the file path to the data source somewhere that we can’t see or find. I’ve been setting up the letter template and the data source on my computer and then emailing the files to my colleagues, who’ve then dropped the files onto a network drive or into a local folder. Sometimes the mail merge works; other times they just get grayed out options on the Mailings tab in Word 2007 (likely the same in Word 2010).

I figured out a quick fix to reattach the data source to a Word 2007 mail merge letter template:

  1. Mailings tab > Select Recipients > Use Existing List.
  2. Navigate to and select the Excel spreadsheet (or other data source if you’re not using Excel), then click Open.
  3. Select the worksheet in the Excel file when asked (in my client’s case, it’s the well-named ‘Sheet 1’!)

That’s it. All the Mailings tab options are now available to you.

If you know of any way to find out what source a particular mail merge is using, or how to find the stored file path for the data source, I’d appreciate it if you could add that information to the comments below.


  1. […] Word: Reattach Excel mail merge data source (cybertext.wordpress.com) […]

  2. This is so annoying feature of Word

  3. I have created a Word e-mail in Template form. I need to send emails very month merging with a new data source file. How can I enable user to select a new source file with the existing word template?

  4. So great. Thank you so much

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