Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Can't Merge Alphanumeric Data Correctly.

Can't Merge Alphanumeric Data Correctly

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 6, 2016)

1

Dave is having a problem getting data in an Excel worksheet to merge successfully into a Word document. The original Excel file had fields like Job Number and Truck Number. In the merge file, he wanted the value of these fields to display unless the field was blank, in which case he wanted some underscore characters displayed. Dave used the following as his merge field:

{IF{MERGEFIELD Job_Number}="" "________" "{MERGEFIELD Job_Number}"}

When both the Job Number or Truck Number fields used the General format and contained only digits, this worked fine. Then his data changed and he had job and truck numbers with alphanumeric characters. When doing the merge, if the job or truck number contained alphanumerics, then the number 0 displayed in the merge instead of the correct digits or underscores. Thus, the merges now produced 0 in place of alphanumeric fields and Dave never got underlines; only numeric fields (or numeric fields formatted as Text) merge properly.

There are a couple of things Dave can try in this situation. The first is to slightly modify the merge field. If the merge is grabbing zero values instead of blanks, then you can change the test so it checks for zeroes, as shown here:

{IF{MERGEFIELD Job_Number}="0" "________" "{MERGEFIELD Job_Number}"}

Now, if Excel is really transferring zeroes in place of blank fields (or Word is interpreting blanks as zeroes), the test will be positive and you will get the underlines you want.

Another thing to check out is the formatting on the data that is being imported. A great resource on how to handle formatting in merge fields is found at this Web page:

http://www.gmayor.com/formatting_word_fields.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 (9722) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Can't Merge Alphanumeric Data Correctly.

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

Setting Limit Line Spacing in the Equation Editor

The Equation Editor is a great way to add a professional-looking equation to your document. It allows you to modify many ...

Discover More

Understanding Relative and Absolute Addressing

In Excel you can reference a cell in a formula by entering the coordinates for the cell you want to reference. This can ...

Discover More

Displaying the Selected Cell's Address

Need to know the address of the cell that is currently selected? The function and macro highlighted in this tip will come ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Merging and Printing a Series of Documents

Do you need to merge and print a number of documents in a particular order? Perhaps the best approach is to record a ...

Discover More

Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents

Mail merge can be used to put together groups of documents that rely on common information. This tip shows how mail merge ...

Discover More

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
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. 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 5 + 2?

2016-02-07 15:41:51

G

I find dates and times to be a merge problem form Excel to Word or Outlook. I've used a field in Excel that generates the text I want - rather than the Excel formatted dates and times.


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.

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.