WD2000: Incorrect Format of Phone Number in Mail Merge Result

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Article ID: 211421 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

In Microsoft Word, when you perform a mail merge with an external data source that contains phone numbers, the phone numbers are incorrectly formatted in the mail merge results. The separator characters may be missing or incorrect, or you may receive the following error message:
Error! Picture String contains unmatched quotes.
For example, if the expected phone number is (999) 555-1212, the number may appear as one of the following:
9995551212

-or-

(9995551212)

-or-

(999) 555 1212

CAUSE

This problem occurs when you use data from Microsoft Access or another database source that can store phone numbers as ordinary numbers but can present them with the correct formatting in the native program.

During a mail merge, the data appears in its native, stored format from the external data source. This occurs when the merge field for the phone number is missing the numeric picture field switch or has incorrect syntax.

WORKAROUND

To work around this problem, use the numeric picture switch "\#" in the merge field for the phone number. Follow these rules when using the numeric picture switch "\#":
  • Enclose the format picture information in quotation marks (") if the output format that you want contains spaces, parentheses, or other characters.
  • Enclose any hyphens in apostrophes (') so that the hyphen is treated as a text string. This is necessary even if the entire format picture is already enclosed in quotation marks.
To add the numeric picture switch to the merge field for the phone number, follow these steps:
  1. Turn on field codes by pressing ALT+F9. You should see something like this:
    {MERGEFIELD phone}
  2. Click after the field name. In this example, click after "phone." Press SPACEBAR and type the numeric picture switch that you want to use. For example, if you want the phone number to be formatted as (999) 555-1212, your merge field code should look like this:
    {MERGEFIELD phone \# "(###) ###'-'####"}
    The following table shows how you can format your merge field to achieve the format you want in the merged results:
       Format wanted     Field code to use
       -----------------------------------------------------------
       (999) 555-1212    {MERGEFIELD phone \# "(###) ###'-'####"}
       999-555-1212      {MERGEFIELD phone \# "###'-'###'-'####"}
       999 555-1212      {MERGEFIELD phone \# "### ###'-'####"}
    					

Properties

Article ID: 211421 - Last Review: July 28, 2005 - Revision: 1.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kberrmsg kbmerge kbprb kbfield kbfaq kbpending KB211421

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