Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents.

Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 8, 2015)

12

When you use the mail merge feature of Word, you have the capability to either merge to the printer or to merge to a new document. Choosing the latter is often the best alternative, since you have the ability to inspect your output before actually printing.

What happens if you need to only print a portion of your merged documents, however? For instance, if your merged document takes 320 pages, and you only need to print the last 15 of them? You might think the answer to print only a range of pages, meaning pages 305-320.

If you try to do this with a mail-merged document, you will not get an expected result. In fact, you will get no result at all. This is because Word inserts a section break between each merged record it adds to your document. Thus, if you are printing 320 copies of a single-paged document, you have 320 page ones, not pages 1 through 320.

Sound confusing? It can be if you don't understand how sections work. Every time a new section is started, Word starts counting page numbers over again. To get around this problem, you have three alternatives. First, you can simply start deleting pages until you only have your desired pages remaining. (I call this the brute force method, and it is not always the best choice.) Second, you can simply replace all the section breaks in the merged document with line breaks. This is done by following these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter ^b. This is the code for a section break.
  4. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is available. This removes any formatting specifications in what you are searching for. (You may need to click on the More button to see the No Formatting button.)
  5. In the Replace With box, enter ^m. This is the code for a page break.
  6. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is available. This removes any formatting specifications in what you are replacing with.
  7. Click on Replace All.

Now you can print as normal, entering a range of page numbers you want to print.

The third solution is perhaps the fastest and easiest, however. Simply remember that in your merged document you are working with sections, instead of pages. Thus, if you want to print out the form letter for records 305 through 320, you would follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+P. Word displays the Print dialog box (Word 2007) or the print options on the File tab of the ribbon (Word 2010).
  2. In the Pages box, enter s305-s320. Note the inclusion of the "s." This indicates you are specifying a section range, as opposed to a normal page range.
  3. Click on OK. Your desired information is printed.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9991) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents.

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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Comments for this tip:

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What is nine more than 1?

2017-03-20 18:04:21

Jeroem

Genious!! Thanks a lot!


2016-12-06 16:30:29

L Bertolino

Thank you for the help with mail merge printing a range of documents by using the removal of section breaks. What a life saver and paper saver. I really appreciate your solution. Yay! Don't have to waste 720 pages.


2016-11-10 14:18:38

Angela

2nd option worked perfectly with the exception, my header and footer did not print on each page. What would I change for that?
Thank you


2016-10-26 03:07:45

Ramu R

Great sir its working. I choose the 2nd option. Thank you.


2016-05-03 06:28:34

Vivek Pawar

Simply superb.
tons of thanks to you.
There could not be any better solution than this.


2016-04-19 00:53:36

Kerri

Thank you, tried lots of things but this was simple and worked. Was able to print out individual pages of a mail merged document.


2016-03-01 23:04:18

Corwin

Your solutions are very helpful. Thank you for sharing this. I really appreciate it very much.


2015-09-19 14:49:31

leo

Thank you! We were struggling in our office trying to print out particular "page" of a merged document, but couldn't figure out how to do that. Then your advice on this page came right on money.

Thank you again!


2015-07-21 03:30:10

Chau Nguyen

OMG, what are you. A wizard?!

I don't know how many tantrum and frustration I have thrown into my computer because of this.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank YOU.


2015-06-28 12:41:20

Ken F

Very helpful. Thank you - I was stuck on this point. Just one comment, for your second solution (a few lines above Fig 1.), it says "replace all the section breaks in the merged document with line breaks". I think that "line breaks" should read "page breaks", as is shown in the step by step correction.


2014-08-20 05:53:13

Sam

Thank you So very much


2014-01-29 10:48:16

J.B.

You are a gorgeous, wonderful person. I knew the problem was section breaks, but I didn't know how to fix it.

Your solutions work perfectly in Word 2011 for Mac. If you're using the "s#" printing solution, there's another step: In the print screen, click "Page setup..." under the quick preview. In "Settings", choose "Microsoft Word", then make sure "Apply Page Setup Settings to:" is set to "Whole Document". Click OK, and you're good!

Thanks again!


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