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Troubleshooting

Keeping Track of Long Merges

Q1:When running a long mail merge, I need to make sure that letters were printed for everyone on my Contacts list.
A1: As you'll soon discover, long merges are a horse of a different color. You'll find it very useful to put a record number on each merged item so, for example, you can look and see if the printer swallowed form letter number 2,481. To place a merge record number on a document, bring up the Mail Merge toolbar (right-click an empty area on any handy toolbar and choose Mail Merge). Click wherever you want the record number to appear in the document, choose Insert Word Field on the Mail Merge toolbar, and select Merge Record # from the list. See the following section for a suggestion on how to format merge record numbers.
Q2:My merged documents don't look right—the fields don't line up properly, or suddenly a line that should hold a person's name is showing a ZIP Code.
A2: If your merge data file gets out of whack by one single entry, it can throw off an entire merge. The easiest way to do a quick check for data integrity is to run the Mail Merge Wizard through step 4 (so your merge document is set up), bring up the Mail Merge toolbar (right-click an empty area in a toolbar and pick Mail Merge), and click the Check for Errors button. Generally, if you ask Word to pause to report each error as it occurs, you'll find the problem in no time.

Check for Errors won't find fields that are improperly aligned. That still needs to be done by meticulously looking at every merged document.


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