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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 28, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


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. ...

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