Word cannot spell check mail merge data

Posted on 2009-04-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Using Office 2007

I'm using a simpler exmaple and appreciate that you would not normally want to spell check names and address, it's just for example.
If I create a mail merge document and grab names and addresses from my Outlook address book it creates a document which lists all names addresses

I then try to spell check these but just says complete without checking the data

I read that I can manually tell if to check the document as by default mail merge data is set not to spell check.
I tried going to "word options" proofing / and clicking recheck document, but it does not make a difference

I have also looked at this site which seemed relevant but cannot make it work and not sure it applies - down the right hand side click  "Spell check merge results"
It does not seem possible to "nest a merge field in a Quote field" as stated on the site

Hope someone can help
Question by:Damester
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Eric Fletcher
ID: 24077587
Check the language options associated with the merged text. If it is set to "Do not check spelling or grammar", select everything and turn this setting off before rechecking.

If this is the case, you can alter your mail merge template to set the appropriate language option for the fields. This way, the suitable language attribute will be applied in the merged content. It needn't be all one option either: it might make sense, for example, to set "Do not check spelling or grammar" for a postal code field to avoid being plagued by apparent spelling mistakes for British or Canadian postal codes that use a combination of letters and numbers.

Author Comment

ID: 24078685
Thanks expert

I can see that making the change manually it does allow me to spell check that text

How do I set the mail merge document to set the appropriate language option for all the fields?
I tried highlighting everything in the mail merge document and unticking the box "do not check spelling or grammar"
When I okay and run the mail merge it still does not auto check the results

LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Eric Fletcher
ID: 24079628
Hmm... that's what I would have suggested you do.

Try setting the language attribute for just one field to something identifiable -- say "German" -- and then see if the resulting merge has the attribute set to German for the results of that field. I would expect it should.

Another possibility is that the style for the resulting paragraph has a language attribute set. Examine the attributes for the underlying style and adjust as necessary. (If the style is just Normal, and the language is set to "Do not check..." you should adjust it and then resave it as the Default style to avoid having this invisible attribute affect other documents.)
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Author Comment

ID: 24098865
Right so I managed to change a field to German and in the merged document that field was set to German language.

I clicked a little more with the "Do not check spelling or grammar" and found it would auto turn it off.
It would not apply the setting on the merged document.
Here is exactly what I did with my mail merge doc -  A4 page of address labels -

First record is all in English with «Home_Address_CountryRegion» - set to German
Thrid record is all in English (One below first record, ignored the rest)
1. Highlight all fields in third record, click on "English UK" button on bottom of Word screen
2. Click on "Do not check spelling or grammar" till box was blank, clicked ok- all fields selected show red squigly line underneath
3. Ctrl S (save)
4. Select reciepents - select from Outlook contacts - choose contacts and okay
5. Third record now not showing red squigly
6. repeated steps 1-3
7. Clicked on finish and merge and chose "Edit individual documents"
8. New document created, third record not showing red squgleys
9. Ran spell check and ignores all records including the third record

It's seem impossible to make word retain the setting to "Do not check spelling or grammar"
in the merge document
i think we are making headway here, I hope you can re-create this issue or have a solution

LVL 21

Accepted Solution

Eric Fletcher earned 500 total points
ID: 24107660
It seems this is a long-term problem with Word. I duplicated what you did and get the same result: the checkbox gets reset no matter what you do!

I did a bit of digging and came up with a solution that works. Cindy Meister (a Word MVP) used format switches in a QUOTE field to get around the problem: her description is partway down the framed page at (use the "Spell check merge results" link on the left panel).

The workaround is fairly obscure but it does the trick. Essentially, you need to set up a character style to hold the language settings, then apply the style to the merge result via a formatting switch. The tricky part is that the switch can't be used in a merge field, but she gets around it by enclosing the merge result ina quote field code -- which can use the formatting switch!

Post back if you have difficulty in sorting out how to do this...

Author Comment

ID: 24158078
I came across this before but could not get it to work, I agree it's obscure

I tried again and followed it EXACTLY, after few attempts I could see the data was sent correctly.
Any mistakes would be obvious in the merge output doc as the code would appear

It may be out of the question to implement this solution on all our templates
but in terms of resolving the question it does :-)

It also helps to confirm that an "expert" did not know a better solution and could recommend this one


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31567002
An excellent reply could have been to show examples. I suspect you probably wanted me to confirm that I had problems before doing so but being pro-active would have been excellent. Thanks for your help
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Eric Fletcher
ID: 24159249
Glad you got it to work... Because Cindy had described it so well, I didn't think there was much point in redoing it myself at the time.

I just went through it again though, and it does work for me. You just need to be careful in how you create the field construct: her description assumes a more advanced level of field code use than is typical. My tip for this type of complex nested field code structure is to start by typing the innermost items, then select the content and use Ctrl-F9 to make it into a field code. Then add the next level(s) and repeat. Her method is less complicated than nested IF fields often can be, but it still needs to be done exactly right or the field code won't perform as expected.

As you may do yourself, I have a bunch of bookmarked resources to tap into when I need to solve problems -- so most "experts" are probably just good at collecting resources!

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