Ok, so I've got a customer who has over 500 addresses typed into a Word document, where it is formatted simply as:



for 60 pages. Now, they want to take those names and put them onto labels. Is there any way to do this with Word's mail merge? I spent a couple hours looking into it but due to the fact that it's just a list of text in Word, the mail merge feature was unable to figure out where each Field / Record is supposed to be. It's reading each line as having a return after it ("enter") so you can't accurately use that to denote where one record ends and the next begins. I tried saving it as a .txt to eliminate that, but it doesn't doesn't read the information from the .txt file properly either. I also tried adding a character to the end of each line ("-") to denote the end of each field and then used "enter" to denote the end of a record. That didn't work either and it just gave me errors and/or only random bits of the address would appear on a label / lots of blank labels (even if this worked it means adding hundreds of dashes to the original doc).  I told the customer that they are better off just copy + pasting all the info themselves (their list is kind of wonky anyway; some addresses are 3 lines while some are like 8 and include phone numbers and so forth), however they are insisting there must be a way to automate it, so I'm asking here there in case there is some way to make this magically work without spending more time and effort to edit the way every single address has been entered to make it such that Mail merge can work with it, or to move it into a spreadsheet or database which would theoretically be read properly by the mail merge feature.

We have Wordperfect X5 as well, however the merge utility there seemed much more basic and I couldn't do anything with it in this case.
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You should be able to just copy and paste the information into an Excel spreadsheet from your text file - especially if you add tabs as the field delimiter and organise the columns into logical headings such as name, address, phone, etc.  
Then get the client to RTFM for word's mail merge so that they don't make the same mistake again!
Answered 07/28/2014 by: EdT
Red Belt

  • While that would work, going back and putting in tabs (or other symbol) to be used as a field delimiter would end up being even more work than just c+p each entry once into a label. At this point, I think short of completely reworking the data, it's not possible to use mail merge in this situation.

    There is no way this client is ever going to RTFM, lol. They are one of those people who doesn't understand/hates technology yet expects it to read their mind and magically do everything they want, exactly as they expect it
    • LOL - that pretty much describes the average IT user. It's odd that when they buy a car, a pretty simple mechanism, the need for driving lessons is accepted. However, buy a computer and it's like letting a blind man loose on a massive motorcycle when the roads are icy.
      As you conclude C+P is probably faster for a one off. Next time maybe they will rethink their data format.
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