Mail Merge Fields Grey and not selectable

The buttons to add merge fields are greyed out.  How do I make them selectable?

 

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Last updated December 11, 2018 Views 30,830 Applies to:

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You need to add or create a data source (Select Recipients).

Mail Merge

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Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

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That's not how I wanted to do it.  I usually have the mail fields designated, then I select the excel file to import the recipients...

That way, I can "cut & paste" the list into an excel spreadsheet.

I want to do a mail merge without pre-selecting the recipients.

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You do not have to select the recipients, but you do need to attach a data source. That starts at the Select Recipients button.

Without the data source, Word does not know what the available merge fields are.

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Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

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That's not how I wanted to do it.  I usually have the mail fields designated, then I select the excel file to import the recipients...

That way, I can "cut & paste" the list into an excel spreadsheet.

I want to do a mail merge without pre-selecting the recipients.

If you really want to do it the hard way, you can write the mergefield fields by hand. I would not recommend this, though. This still doesn't let you used the drop-down insertion, though.

You can create a data source from within Word and use its default fields. You can create such a list and leave it blank. It will then let you use the drop-down for insertion of merge fields. Is that what you want?

Once you have that blank list saved, you can attach new documents to it if this is all you want to do.

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Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

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I want to be able to select the data source that the word document uses.  With your method, I have to create the data source myself as a mbd document.  I have no clue what a mbd file is.

I don't understand why anyone would want to use the standard method in Word 2013.  It is a lot of manual data entry. 

With my method, I'm able to just cut and paste large amounts of data into an excel spreadsheet, adjust the headings in the spreadsheet, properly title the merge fields in word, then under the "step by step" mail merge tool, select that file and presto!  Done.  With the default method you suggested, I have to manually enter data every time I want to do a mail merge.....

I created mail merge documents years ago, I think with Word 2007, which operates the way I want. Word 2013 doesn't do it this way, which I dislike.  The new method doesn't make it easy.

So what I tried in Word 2013 now is:

  1. Clicked "Select Recipients"
  2. Didn't change anything, didn't enter anything, clicked OK
  3. Saved the file
  4. Tried to mail merge
  5. Nothing happened

What I want is in step 4, Word asks "which file do you want to use"... then I can select one of my many excel files where I have many mail merges already set up.

I appreciate your help very much, I didn't even know where to start.  Most tutorials begin much later in the process.

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You can still do this the same way you always have. In a blank document (or the document you've already created), click on Select Recipients and choose Use an Existing List. This will open the Select Data Source dialog in which you browse to and select the Excel file you want to use as a data source. If the data source includes ranges, you'll get a choice of those. Once you've selected the range, the Insert Merge Field dropdown will be populated with your merge fields.
Microsoft MVP (Word) since 1999
Fairhope, Alabama USA
http://ssbarnhill.com

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What I said was that you have to attach or create a data file. You can use your Excel sheet. Word then uses your column headings for the merge field names.
Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

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Thanks.  However, the word document is ONLY linked to that one file.  I have a separate excel spreadsheet that are all the same, with the same headers, for different organizations.  So I'll have to create multiple word documents for each spreadsheet since they are forever "connected"?  

I've been maintaining one master template word document with the merge fields in it, then when i want to use it, I select which spreadsheet I want... depending on which organization I want to send the documents to.

This way works... but am I to maintain one spreadsheet, and one word document for every single organization?

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Even after attaching a specific Excel file, I am still able to choose "Use an Existing List" from the Select Recipients dropdown and choose a different file.
Microsoft MVP (Word) since 1999
Fairhope, Alabama USA
http://ssbarnhill.com

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Generally, when I have completed a merge, I break the link in the main merge document by going to "Start Merge" and selecting "Normal Word Document." Then I save it. Then next time I open the merge document, I re-establish the link to a data source. As Suzanne points out, even with a data source connected, you can still change data sources quite easily.

So long as the headings match, the merge will work fine. If the headings do not match, when you attach a data source Word will give you a dialog in which you can try to match the merge fields in the document with the headings in the data source.

Please mark helpful or answered as appropriate to help other users.

Charles Kenyon
Attorney at Law
Madison, Wisconsin
wordfaq[at]addbalance[dot]com

http://addbalance.com/usersguide/styles.htm

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