Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Merging to Individual Files.

Merging to Individual Files

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 25, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


When you use the mail-merge feature in Word, you have the option of either printing your results directly or creating a new document. If you choose the latter option, the resulting document contains all the information that normally would have gone to the printer. For instance, if your merge document is a two-page letter, each letter in the resulting document is separated by a section break. Thus, if you are merging the two-page letter with 150 different addresses, then you would end up with a 300-page document with 150 section breaks (one every two pages).

For some people, it would be more helpful if you could merge to individual files. For instance, given the above example you might want 150 individual document files, each two pages long. Unfortunately, that is not one of the options available when using Word's mail-merge feature. The only answer to accomplishing this task is to create a macro that will, based on the merged document (the 300-page one mentioned above) take each section and save it to its own document file. The following macro will do just that, separating a merged document into individual files based on the section breaks:

Sub BreakOnSection()
    Dim X As Integer
    Dim sFileBase As String
    Dim oSec As Section

    ' Set common part of filename here. Be sure to include full path.
    sFileBase = Environ("USERPROFILE") & "\Desktop\test_"

    X = 0
    For Each oSec In ActiveDocument.Sections
        oSec.Range.Copy
        
        'Create a new document to paste text from Clipboard.
        Documents.Add
        Selection.Paste

        X = X + 1
        ActiveDocument.SaveAs FileName:=sFileBase & X & ".docx"
        ActiveDocument.Close
    Next oSec
    ActiveDocument.Close SaveChanges:=wdDoNotSaveChanges
End Sub

The files created by this macro have names such as test_1.docx, test_2.docx, etc., and they are stored on the desktop. If you would like some other naming structure for your created documents, you can change the base name that is stored in the sFileBase variable. Just be sure to include the path of where you want the documents stored.

It is important to realize, as well, that this macro will only work if the only place that section breaks occur is between merged documents. If your original document includes section breaks, then the macro will not provide satisfactory results.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8435) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Merging to Individual Files.

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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