Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New York, New York, USA
    Posts
    165
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    MailMerge in 2003 - what has Microsoft done???!

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by jscher2000 on 14-Jul-05 23:10. Removed a bit of smilie debris.)</P>I recently installed Office 2003 Professional on my XP SP1 PC, replacing the beloved 2000 version. HOWEVER, when I went last night to do a mail merge, I found that the process seems to have completely changed <img src=/S/shocked.gif border=0 alt=shocked width=15 height=15> and not for the better in my opinion. How can I add fields to my data source? The Wizards have been banished, the data source is now in Access rather than in Word, and it looks like I'm restricted to what Microsoft has in a panel to the right: Salutation, etc. I don't see an entry for the body of the letter. Do I have to go into Access and modify the structure of the table.
    All this, and do are the text boxes prone to 'unbinding' still?
    Please help!
    Mark

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    84,353
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts

    Re: MailMerge in 2003 - what has Microsoft done???!

    You can still use any kind of data source, including a Word document, but you'll have to create it manually (simply put a table in a document with the desired number of columns, and enter the field names in the first row, data in the following rows).

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    84,353
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts

    Re: MailMerge in 2003 - what has Microsoft done???!

    Also see the threads starting at <post#=499642>post 499642</post#> and <post#=431736>post 431736</post#> for some customizations you might find useful.

  4. #4
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Ossining, New York, USA
    Posts
    114
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Re: MailMerge in 2003 - what has Microsoft done???!

    Word XP (and 2003) changed the mail merge process and IMHO not for the better. I prefer to use the Mail Merge toolbar rather then the steps listed in the Task Pane. If this is the route that you prefer, you will have to add 1 icon to this toolbar (this icon is present in Word 2000 MM toolbar but not in the new "Improved" version in XP and 2003). The icon is "Insert Word Field". To add or delete an icon go to Tools/Customize and select the Commands tab. On the left side select Mail Merge and drag the icon on the right side to the toolbar where you want it to appear.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    1,921
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 9 Times in 7 Posts

    Re: MailMerge in 2003 - what has Microsoft done???!

    As mentioned in this thread, the new Task Pane approach to MM was introduced in Word XP. I don't believe there were any changes in going from XP to 2003.

    When I first loaded XP, I too hated the new approach. I believe this approach was done for 2 reasons:
    - dumb down MM for those still finding it hard (the MM Wizard in 2000 I think was an improvement over some previous version)
    - be consistent with the Task Pane approach for "hard" jobs adopted in XP

    I spoke to some friends at the time and they said, and I now agree, it's just a different interface. If you could use the old approach, you can use the new approach.

    I was teaching a class in Oct-Nov 2003 on Mail Merge. The Oct class was the pre-XP approach while the Nov class was the XP approach. Most people in the class agreed the XP (now 2003 also) approach was at least somewhat better. For example, when creating/editing the data source, it is very easy to sort, filter, and exclude records. Also the form for input comes up automatically but was harder to get to with pre-XP MM.

    As far as being restricted to the Salutation and Address block fields, I thought so originally also. That is not the case. These blocks, in effect, allow you to combine several fields into one and just give them a name (kind of like a Style). For example, suppose you had fields for first name, last name, address1, city, state, zip, country. In pre-XP, you'd have to manually insert each of those fields where you wanted them to serve as an address block. With XP+, you can say insert Address block and it will pick up fields it thinks belongs in an Address block. Through the "Match Fields" dialog, you can specify alternate fields for what goes into an Address Block. For example, suppose you named your first name field something wierd like "initial name". Word XP+ expects, when using the Address Block, that you used a field called "First Name" (how predictable). Through Match Fields, you can tell Word to use the "initial name" field for the first name in the Address Block.

    Similarly for the other blocks.

    With all of the above said, you can still create your own Address Block by inserting Merge Fields like you used to. The button for this is still on the Mail Merge Toolbar. If I recall, it used to actually say "Insert Merge Fields". Now it is just an icon just to the left of "Insert Word Fields".

    For the class I did in 2003, I created a table that mapped the 6 steps of XP+ MM with the MM wizard of 2000-. It's not that hard. In XP+, steps 5 and 6 correspond to 2000's Step 3. That is, you preview your letters and do the merge. In XP+, you have to go thru step 5 (preview) in order to get to step 6 (merge) while I don't think you had to do this in 2000 (ie, Step 3 with the MM Wizard did the merge and previewing was an option on the merge, not a necessary prerequisite to merging).

    Lastly, I just happened to be in a class last night on computer applications in the law office. The teacher did MM ala 2003. Those who knew anything about MM were used to 2000. Most seemed to like the 2003 approach.

    My bottom line: I think XP's MM is an improvement. Maybe not much for those who already knew how to use the MM wizard. And I think someone on the lounge mentioned there was a way to get the Wizard back but maybe that was in XP and was dropped in 2003 since I'm not finding it.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred

  6. #6
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New York, New York, USA
    Posts
    165
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: MailMerge in 2003 - what has Microsoft done???

    A big THANK YOU to all who have responded so far. You've given me a lot to think about and do. Hans, I tried using a plain old table as a data source and it worked fine. I'm going to look at the other threads mentioned. And Fred, I can't believe how much you wrote in response. It's good to know someone else had a similar initial reaction. Now that I found I can get at the fields in my data source through More items I'm much happier. I had been trying Insert Field and only came up with Word predefined fields.
    Thank you all again.
    Mark

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •