Windows 7 - How do I delete or edit a data source entry in Word?

Asked By t on 05-Nov-07 11:54 AM
I am trying to delete one of the recipients in a mail merge data source, and
the Edit button is greyed out.  Why?!!

Peter Jamieson replied on 05-Nov-07 12:38 PM
Whether you can edit your data source from within WOrd, and how you do it,
depends on the type of data source and the version of Word. So...

Which version of Word, and what is the data source?

Peter Jamieson
Teego5 replied on 05-Nov-07 04:16 PM
If it shows a list of data sources, you must choose the correct one and the
'edit' button will become usable. Even if it only shows the one data source
that you want to delete from, you must choose it (highight it) and the edit
button becomes usable.
t replied on 14-Nov-07 12:55 PM
It is Word 2003, data source is for a mail merge (addresses for letters).  I
have edited data sources within this version of word before, but even if I
select a recipient in the list, the Edit button is still greyed out.
Peter Jamieson replied on 15-Nov-07 08:11 AM
OK, do you mean that you created this dta source from within Word's
mailmerge process? And the data source is not a Word document? If so, the
data source should be in a .mdb file which is an Access database, and you
would normally be able to edit it. However, these /mdb files have a very
specific format which, if altered, can prevent Word from editing them -
e.g., that can happen if you used Access to modify the .mdb. Are you aware
of doing anything like that? If so, is there any way you can revert to an
earlier version of the file without losing much data? If you are in a
position to do so, you are welcome to send a copy of the .mdb to me and I'll
see if I can connect and edit. (Despam my e-mail by removing the KillmapS).

If the data source is not a .mdb or Word document, things are a bit
different - let us know.

Peter Jamieson
t replied on 20-Nov-07 12:32 PM
The data source was created through Microsoft Word's merge process.  I cannot
say for sure if it has been modified through Microsoft Access, as I am not
the only person who has access to the file.  The file extension is mdb.  I am
not very familiar with Access; can I edit the data source through Access
without changing the format?.  If so, how?  Also, how can you tell if it has
already been modified through Access?  If I revert back to an earlier version
of the file, I may as well just start over!  :)  Thanks for trying to help me.

(I work in a government office, so unfortunately, I cannot send you the
file.  It contains personal information that cannot be disclosed according to
the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).
Peter Jamieson replied on 20-Nov-07 02:42 PM
OK, let's just say that it is possible that someone else has accessed this
file using Access... a .mdb file would typically mean that it's an Access (or Jet) file.
- Jet is a "database engine" that manages .mdb databsaes
- Access is a program that uses Jet database technology as one of its
native database formats.

However, when Word creates a data source in .mdb format, it uses a special
format called "Office Address List" (OAL) format...

What that means is that
a. every OAL is a .mdb file
b. not every .mdb file is an OAB file
c. in particular, if you open an OAL using Access and make changes, Word
may no longer recognise it as an OAL.

I don't know, sorry.


Peter Jamieson
t replied on 24-Nov-07 06:52 PM
So, I do not suppose there is some way to change it back to OAL?  It looks
like I am just going to have to start over from scratch.  Oh, well.  Thanks
for trying to help!
Doug Robbins - Word MVP replied on 24-Nov-07 08:02 PM
Use the data source with a Directory type mail merge main document in which
you set up a one row table with as many columns as there are fields in the
data source and insert a merge field into each of the cells.  Then when you
execute that merge to a new document, that document will contain a table
with a row of data for each record in the data source.  Insert a row at the
top of the table and into the cells of that row, insert the names of the
fields in the data source.  Then you can edit the information in that
document, save it and then use it as the data source for the mail merge that
you were originally wanting to perform.

Hope this helps.

Please reply to the newsgroup unless you wish to avail yourself of my
services on a paid consulting basis.

Doug Robbins - Word MVP