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: Using Unique Document Serial Numbers.

Using Unique Document Serial Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 28, 2021)

There may be times you want to include a unique serial number in your documents, and the serial numbers much be specific and non-sequential. For instance, the first serial number could be X2417, the next one X2428, the third X2435, etc.

Assuming you know what serial numbers you need to use, the quickest way to handle this situation is to use the mail-merge features of Word to create your final documents. To do this, follow these general steps:

  1. Create a document that contains nothing but the serial numbers. Put the serial numbers in a table, one serial number per row. Make sure there is a header on the table, and the header is named something like "Serial Number."
  2. Load your target document, the one you want to contain the serial number.
  3. Display the Mailings tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Start Mail Merge tool in the Start Mail Merge group.
  5. Use the on-screen controls to choose the type of merge you want to do.
  6. Go through the steps of specifying your main document (the one you loaded in step 2) and your data source (the one you created in step 1).
  7. In your main document, insert a merge field that indicates where you want the serial number to appear.
  8. Print your mail-merged documents.

The primary advantage of this approach is that you can use non-sequential serial numbers. You can also change the contents of your serial number file whenever you need a new batch of documents, and simply print again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10808) 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: Using Unique Document Serial Numbers.

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

Going to the Corners of a Selected Range

When you select a range of cells (particularly if it is a large range of cells), you may not be quite sure if you've ...

Discover More

Changing Fonts for AutoText Entries

If you use AutoText entries a lot, you may wonder if you can change the formatting stored with your existing entries. The ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of the Bothersome Lock Symbol

Microsoft added a new feature to Excel that causes a "lock icon" to appear at the left of a worksheet tab if the ...

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)

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

Can't Place Merge Field in Header of a Catalog Merge Document

Word can perform several different types of mail merge operations, and the type you choose can affect how you are able to ...

Discover More

Merging to Individual Files

The mail-merge feature in Word is a fast, easy way to create form letters addressed to many different people. Sometimes, ...

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 five more than 8?

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.

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.