Incorrect format of phone number in mail merge result

This article was previously published under Q193652
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In Microsoft Word, when you perform a mail merge with an external datasource that contains phone numbers, the phone numbers are incorrectlyformatted in the mail merge results. The separator characters may bemissing 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 mayappear as one of the following:
  • 9995551212

  • (9995551212)

  • (999) 555 1212
This problem occurs when you use data from Microsoft Access or anotherdatabase source that can store phone numbers as ordinary numbers, but canpresent them with the correct formatting in the native program.

During a mail merge, the data appears in its native, stored format from theexternal data source. This occurs when the merge field for the phone numberis missing the numeric picture field switch or has incorrect syntax.
To work around this problem, use the numeric picture switch "\#" in themerge field for the phone number. Follow these rules when using the numericpicture switch "\#":
  • Enclose the format picture in quotation marks (") if the output format 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.
   Format wanted     Field code to use   -----------------------------------------------------------   (999) 555-1212    {MERGEFIELD phone \# "(###) ###'-'####" }   999-555-1212      {MERGEFIELD phone \# "###'-'###'-'####" }   999 555-1212      {MERGEFIELD phone \# "### ###'-'####" }				

NOTE: To view the actual field codes { } instead of the merge fields << >>,use ALT+F9 (OPTION+F9 on Macintosh) to turn them on and off.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.
For additional information, please see the following articles in theMicrosoft Knowledge Base:
142340 The Date, Phone Number, and Currency fields are merged incorrectly when you use an Access or Excel data source in Word 97 or in Word 2000

121938 Hyphens don't display correctly with numeric picture switch
ASCII ANSI dBase FoxPro macword6 Paradox SQL telephone office office7 office95 text

Article ID: 193652 - Last Review: 10/10/2013 22:24:44 - Revision: 2.1

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