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    Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    Has anyone come across a problem where a mail merge in Word 2003 cannot see a table in an Access database? It appears that Word cannot view the tables if they are linked.

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    Select Tools | Options...
    In the General tab, tick the check box "Confirm conversion at Open".
    Click OK.
    Now, when you select an Access database in step 3 of the Mail Merge task pane, you will be prompted how to connect to the database: OLE DB (default), DDE or ODBC. OLE DB does not show linked tables, but DDE and ODBC do.

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    Thank you Hans, I thought that it would be crazy if it wasn't possible to merge with linked tables. You have just saved someone a LOT of time - over 100 mail merges were affected!

    Cheers

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    Hans,

    I had a thread a few months ago where I tried to have a separate header file for a mail merge in XP. It didn't work. I think it was Phil Rabichow at the time who suggested something like what you're mentioning to see if that would help. (Of course, neither Phil nor I use separate header files but I was trying to help a friend who needed this.)

    Other than what you mentioned in this thread, what are the differences between the various methods of linking to the data source?

    Thanks

    Fred

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    OLE DB is the new method for connecting to databases; it was introduced for mail merges in Word 2002. I don't use it myself, so I do not really know much about it.
    Advantages:
    <UL><LI>It is the default method in Word 2002 and up, you don't have to do anything special.
    <LI>OLE DB is very general.[/list]Disadvantages:
    <UL><LI>It is somewhat inflexible - it doesn't recognize linked tables.[/list]DDE starts an instance of Access and opens the database.
    Advantages:
    <UL><LI>Since the database opens in the Access interface, you can use specific Access features in the query that acts as data source for the mail merge, such as user-defined functions and parameter queries.[/list]Disadvantages:
    <UL><LI>Relatively high demand on resources, since Access is opened.
    <LI>If the database has a non-blank Application Title (set in Tools | Startup...) that does not begin with "Microsoft Access", a new instance of Access will be started each time Word tries to open the data source.
    <LI>Can be slow.[/list]ODBC does not use the Access interface, but gets to the data through the Microsoft Access ODBC driver.
    Advantages:
    <UL><LI>Relatively little demand on resources.
    <LI>Operates fast.[/list]Disadvantages:
    <UL><LI>Since ODBC bypasses the Access interface, it doesn't recognize features such as user-defined functions and parameter queries.[/list]There may be more, but that's my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    I think Hans has pretty well summed up the situation. The only thing I can think of to add is that in some odd cases, I've also seen the OLE DB method refuse to show queries as well as linked tables. We typically use either the ODBC method, or if we are wanting to use parameter queries, the DDE method. In some instances we also resort to full Automation of Word and bypass the Mail Merge process completely.
    Wendell

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    Hans,

    Thks for the 2 cents.

    Wasn't there a 4th method of linking in XP? Don't have XP on this PC and the one that did has crashed.

    Fred

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    For an Excel workbook as data source, there is a fourth method: Microsoft Excel Worksheet via Converter. I don't know of a fourth method for Access data sources.

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    Re: Mail Merge and Access (Office 2003)

    I try not to use mail merge at all, but I wonder: since you can call a parameterized stored procedure (Access query) with OLEDB, would you be able to use linked tables that way? If the database can't be touched, of course, that makes it more difficult; in that case I tend to create an intermediate database to store my queries that links to the "real" database. (I've done this for Word VBA applications, not a merge.) Perhaps for most people this would be way too much hassle, particularly if DDE is easy to use. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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