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: Maintaining Leading Zeroes.

Maintaining Leading Zeroes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 18, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Suzanne has an Excel worksheet containing addresses. The ZIP Codes are formatted via the special Excel formatting that maintains leading zeroes. However, when she uses mail merge in Word, the leading zeroes are dropped.

There are several ways you can approach this problem. You could, for instance, go into Excel and create a new column that contains text versions of the numeric ZIP Codes. Here's a handy Excel formula to use to accomplish this:

=RIGHT("00000" & A1, 5)

If you put this formula in a column that has been formatted as text (and the ZIP Code is in cell A1), you end up with text that contains the leading zeroes. You can then use this new column in your merge in Word.

If you don't want to edit the original Excel data, then you should stick with making your changes in the Word merge document. Take a look at the document; it contains merge fields that indicate where the merged data will be placed. These fields also indicate how the merged data should be treated. If you select the merge field for the ZIP Code, you can expand it by pressing Shift+F9. You should see the underlying code that makes up the field. You can then modify the field code so it looks similar to this:

{ MERGEFIELD "Zip" \# 00000-0000 }

The name within the quote marks ("Zip") may well be different; it represents the name of the column in the Excel worksheet that needs to be merged. The important part is to add the formatting switch (\#) followed by the pattern to be used for formatting the merged data. When you are done making the change to the field, you can press Shift+F9 again to collapse the field, and then do your merge.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9195) 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: Maintaining Leading Zeroes.

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

Tracing Errors

Sometimes it can be confusing to figure out the source of an error that is displayed in your worksheet. Excel provides a ...

Discover More

Understanding Grayscale Images

Word allows you to easily add images to your documents. For documents intended for monochrome printers, grayscale images ...

Discover More

Limiting Where a Workbook is Used

Want to limit who can use your workbook and on what system? Locking down a workbook can be trickier than you might imagine.

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 (ribbon)

Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents

When you use a data source to create a bunch of documents in a mail merge, you might not want to print all the documents ...

Discover More

Checkboxes in a Merged Document

When creating a mail-merge document, you may want to include some special characters, such as check-marked boxes, in the ...

Discover More

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 ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 five less than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
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.