Graham Mayor

... helping to ease the lives of Microsoft Word users.

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Merge and Split Add-in for Word 2007 - 2016

The Individual Merge Letters add-in is by far the most downloaded add-in from this site with many thousands of users world wide. However feedback, while helpful in developing the add-in, has revealed a fatal flaw when presented with CSV data sources.

Thanks probably to Microsoft's interminable updates, it has been found that the process now fails when presented with merge documents using CSV data sources. Why this should occur I have not yet been able to establish, so I have recommended the use of Excel data sources, which do not exhibit this limitation.

Unfortunately CSV data sources have been used as a means of overcoming the 256 field limit for mail merge and while admittedly few users have suffered from this limitation, I felt that I should address it. The solution is the add-in featured on this page.

The add-in works by merging to a new document and then splitting that document to separate files, based on the original merge document, so that formatting should be retained. It does however have limitations, but I offer it as a way forward when other methods cannot be used.

Where it can be used, the original Individual Merge Letters add-in, is the recommended tool to split merge documents to Document and PDF format.

I should point out that while there were some formatting issues with the original Individual Merge Letters add-in, this has now been fixed, however where any formatting anomalies remain, where Excel data sources are used, the Many to One  add-in, used in One to One mode will split the document without affecting the original formatting, as it does not use mail merge to complete the process and may be considered as an alternative.

The Many to One add-in adds another layer of merge options, should you wish to create a many to one merge or a merge directly to e-mail.

Merge and Split

The add-in is a template which should be installed in the Word startup folder. The zip file includes a self extracting installer or you can manually save the template into the required folder - If you have not changed the preferred startup folder it can be located (in English language versions of Windows) by typing
%appdata%\Microsoft\Word\Startup
in the Windows Explorer Address bar and pressing Enter.

When Word is next started an additional group will be added to the Mailings Tab:

The reset button is provided to clear the program settings which are stored as variables in the template itself. The other button runs the program.

The application is error trapped to ensure that it can only operate on a merge document with an attached data source, If use is attempted otherwise you will see a warning message.

When run for the first time, following a standard disclaimer message you will see the following dialog with the available fields from the current merge document displayed. You may select any item from the list to be used as the filename. Ideally you would use a filename that is unique to each record, though the application will not overwrite existing filenames where two records share the same data. Instead a number is added to the filename.

The add-in will not allow the root folder of any drive to be the destination folder for the merge documents. This is to deter the use of removable media which could cause data loss, and to cater for recent operating systems which may not allow writing to the root of the C:\ drive.

As the add-in only works with merge documents, there will always be fields from that document presented in the list when the add-in is run. The first time the add-in is run (and at any time when a selected folder to store the documents is no longer available) the folder path text box will be empty and coloured pink.

If the folder path is typed into the dialog and that path doesn't exist, the background colour will remain pink and the 'Split to Documents' action button will be disabled. A folder selected with the browse function will always be valid, so the background colour will change to green,

The 'Split to Documents' action button will be enabled when the name field is selected.

The add-in provides for a second field to be included in the filenames of the individual documents. This second field is always inserted after the first selected field data, and you may choose from a small selection of separator characters.

The add-in by default creates PDF format files using Word's built-in PDF converter, however for users who have PDF Creator installed, the add-in will detect this and offer the option to create PDF files using PDF Creator, with the additional option of creating those PDF files with a selection of security options which are presented when you leave the main dialog and the relevant option is selected (see second and third illustrations below).

PDF creation using the built-in PDF Converter is much faster than creation with PDF Creator, so unless you need the extra functionality offered by PDF Creator, I would advise the use of the built-in converter.

The process has been configured to use the current version of PDF Creator and will no longer work with version 1.7.3.

Note that this also includes PDF Architect, which is not required, and unless you want this application, I would recommend that you use the 'Expert' installation settings and uncheck PDF Architect. Note also that the installer will offer assorted plug-ins for your browser, that are certainly not required. Make sure you de-select these during the installation.

When splitting to PDF format with PDFCreator the add-in additionally provides the option to engage PDF security measures. When the 'Continue' button on the main dialog is clicked, a second userform will open to offer that facility. Clicking 'Cancel' on this userform will cancel the whole process.

The items shown disabled in the following illustration become available when a Master Password is entered. If you don't want additional security measures then don't set a Master Password!

Currently the additional security options are only supported when the option PDF is checked. Should you check one of the other PDF format types, the dialog changes as shown below and any security settings entered are returned to their default values.

The add-in adds a temporary field (or fields if a second field is chosen to name the document) to the start (or optionally the end) of the merge document.

As the merge is completed the added field(s) are removed from the merge document before saving.

All that remains is to ensure that all the personal options are set and click the button to split the document. 

The merge starts by creating a new merge document. In some circumstances e.g. in non-English version of Word, and where there may be more than one unnamed document present, the process may not be able to identify which is the merge document. When that happens you will see the following dialog which will list the unnamed documents.  Select the merged document and click 'Continue' which will become available when a selection has been made. Cancel will cancel the entire process.

A progress indicator will display as the merge runs.

 

Split Merged Letter

New for version 3.8 is an option to split a previously merged document. This is primarily used where the original merge document and its data source are no longer available, but the user has a document that has been created by a 'letters' type of Word mailmerge, where each section of that document contains a similar 'letter' document.

The process has largely similar functions to the Merge and Split option detailed above and offers the addition of a split merge to the printer, where each 'letter' is treated as a separate print task. This might be useful, for example, where the user wishes to use a printer with a stapling function for each merged 'letter'.

Here there are no fields to select, so the display shows the first 80 characters of each paragraph in the first section.

Select the paragraph that contains the identifying information for each 'letter' for use as a filename

 

- Click here to download the add-in

 

 

 Merge and Split

This is a companion add-in to the Individual Merge Letters add-in, to produce individual merge letters in pdf and document formats; and is especially useful with merge documents and CSV data sources with large numbers of fields.