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Mail Merge Issues

Posted on 2011-09-26
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi Everyone,

We are having a couple of issues in our attempt to do a mail merge. All of the applications that we are using (Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook) are part of the Office 2010 suite. Below is the process that we use:

1. We extract data from our database application in the form of a report that we run. The spreadsheet containing the data is exported in the old .xls format. At this time, I do not know of a way to force the database application to export the data in the more current .xlsx version.

2. We then open our mail merge document (a .docx file), which launches a new message in Outlook with all of the merge fields visible in the body of the e-mail. When I click on the 'Mailings' tab and click 'Preview Results', the merge fields disappear and no data shows up.

At this point, we have at least found a workaround that will allow us to see the data. Below are the steps we have to perform:

1. Close the merge document
2. Re-open the .xls spreadsheet that holds the data
3. Click 'Save' in the spreadsheet (no other changes need to be done) and close it.
4. Re-open the merge document and click 'Preview Results'.
5. The data then appears.

We would like to find a way to avoid having to re-open every spreadsheet and clicking Save before the merge works.

Also, the e-mail header data (subject line and distribution list) is not being retained when the files are saved, so this information needs to be inserted each time the merge is run.

Our goal is to be able to export the data and open the merge document with the merge data and header data available. I do hope that I have provided enough detail for you all. Please let me know if you have any questions.
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Question by:schenckl
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Expert Comment

by:andymacf
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In 2 above, when you open your mailmerge document, you need to link it to the new spreadsheet by clicking the edit recipients and linking to the new xls file.

Let us know how you get on
Andy
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Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
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Can you confirm the sequence?.

You have a saved and closed xls file and a saved and closed Word mailmerge main file.
You open Word and open the mailmerge main document.
You try the preview and the datasource appears empty, so you run through the 5 steps in your question with success.

Incidentally, do you get a warning message when you open the main document?

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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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Thank you for the reply. I'll report back tomorrow morning.
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Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
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OK. It's 5 minutes past midnight here, so I couldn't deal with anything immediately myself.
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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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Andy,

First of all, I wanted to apologize for not being able to look at this at greater length yesterday. I didn't realize, at the time of posting, that the person I am helping was about to leave.

Anyway, when I click on the 'Edit Recipient List' button, my spreadsheet is already showing as the Data Source. Having said that, I highlighted my spreadsheet and clicked 'Edit' and received the following error message: "An operation cannot be completed because of database engine errors."

As outlined in my original post, I opened my spreadsheet, saved it, and re-opened the merge document. I then clicked on 'Edit Recipient List' again, highlighted my spreadsheet in the Data Source box, and clicked Edit. After doing that, I did not receive the error message.
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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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Graham,

Yes, the sequence you outlined is correct. The only message I receive when I open the merge document is the SQL dialog box.

"Opening this document will run the following SQL command: Select * FROM 'Sheet1$'

Data from your database will be placed in the document. Do you want to continue?"

After selecting 'Yes', the merge document opens.
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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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Also, I just tried re-registering the MSJETOLEDB40.dll file to no avail. I had read that possibility during my research.
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Expert Comment

by:andymacf
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Hi Schenckl

In 1 above you mention that you extract data from your database application.  What is your DB application? If Access, is it the latest version, or a previous version.  If not Access, are you sure the format is what you think it is?

'After selecting 'Yes', the merge document opens.'  I assume this means you are still not seeing the data, is this correct?

Andy
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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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I don't manage the application, but I am pretty sure it is built on an Oracle platform. Regarding the format, I'm not sure if I follow the question. The exported file is a .xls spreadsheet that can be opened and viewed as having the correct data. As initially mentioned, the spreadsheet just needs to be opened/saved in order for the workaround to be successful.

Regarding your second question, you are correct in that, when the merge document opens, I cannot see the data (unless the xls has been opened and saved).

Thanks for your continued help.
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Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
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It might be worth trying the fixes for Word problems here, especially those for the registry keys:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/921541
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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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Graham,

I tried the fix provided in the link, but the issue persists. I will also add that the issue has been tested and is happening on multiple machines.

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
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Is the problem across several mail merge main documents, or just confined to one?
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Author Comment

by:schenckl
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Yes, it doesn't matter which merge document we use.
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andymacf earned 500 total points
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Can you possibly post stripped down examples of what you are trying to achieve?  This might help us to identify where the problem lies.  I'm thinking either the data is corrupt in some way, or the merge fields are failing to link to the appropriate fields.

Andy
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Author Closing Comment

by:schenckl
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It looks like the data extract from our database application was the source of the issue. Points awarded to Andy since he pointed us in that direction.
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