David Rubin of BMO Nesbitt Burns Financial Services Inc. came up with another excellent question:
“What would be the entries for $000,000 and 0.00%? I can get the date to work, but am having trouble with the numeric [formatting].”
In other words, how do I set up a mail merge in Word to work with Excel data that has numeric formatting such as dollar amounts or percentages?
There are a few ways to accomplish this.
One way is to use the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). It is nowhere near as complicated as it may sound. After testing this out, I’ve found that this works best overall, particularly if you’re merging from a spreadsheet that already exists and contains a lot of numbers. I’ve outlined the steps for this approach below*:
- These steps are for Word 2007/2010. If you are using an earlier version, please send us an email; we will be happy to send you the appropriate instructions for your version.
- These steps are written under the assumption that you already know how mail merges works and how to perform one. If you need assistance with this, please let us know and someone can walk you through the process.
1. If it already exists, open your mail merge document. Otherwise, you can simply open a blank document.
2. Go into the Options dialogue box. If using 2007, this will be behind the Office button. In 2010, it’s under the File tab.
3. On the Advanced tab, scroll down to the General section (almost at the bottom):
4. Check the box next to “Confirm file format conversion on open” and then click OK.
5. Begin your mail merge; you can do this through the Mail Merge wizard, but I prefer to skip that and go straight to Select Recipients. Whichever way you choose to get there, once you’ve selected your data source you will see the Confirm Data Source dialogue box.
6. Check the “Show all” box and then select “MS Excel Worksheets via DDE” and click OK:
7. In the Microsoft Excel dialogue box, under Named or cell range, select the data range or worksheet that contains that data you wish to use:
8. Now preview your results – all of your numeric values should appear as they were formatted in Excel!
Another method is to work with the field codes directly in Word; this is what we did when we changed the date format. This really only works well when the Excel worksheet from which you’re merging only has one or two number columns. The third way, and probably least effective, is to format the Excel worksheet cells as text. This really only works well if you’re creating a new worksheet directly from the mail merge and if you’re not performing any calculations in the worksheet.
Thank you, David, for another great question!
Client Service Coordinator,
Sector Learning Solutions