Mail Merge in Word 2003 Unable To Correctly Read/Access Address Lists In Data Sources RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I am running Windows XP Home Edition, SP3 and MS Office Professional Edition 2003.

    I have been using Mail Merge in Word 2003 to address envelopes for monthly mailings for over four years without any problems.  Last month when I selected  "Start from an existing document" for my address list, selected the "My Data Sources" folder, opened the folder and clicked on the MS Office Access file, I got a Windows File Conversion window with unintelligible text and symbols, punctuation, i.e. yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy4{6=3 in an unrecognizable fonts.

    After many attempts to find a solution, including performing both a "Repair" and "Reinstall" from the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel and via the "Detect & Repair" in Word "Help", I performed the Mail Merge addressing task on a different computer.

    Things that I have done to find a solution:  1. Re-created the address list following the instructions in Word that creates a MS Office Access file (no change).  2. Sought help from the Ask Desk at my local Microsoft store. They told me that they did not know what the unintelligible characters meant or what was going on but that I should create my address list in Excel, which I did (no change).  3. Sent the address files that are unreadable on my desktop to other computers and those computers can perform the Mail Merge addressing using those address lists.  4. The Address Lists, both in Excel and MS Office Access in the My Data Sources folder can be opened, read and printed on my desktop.  5. I have searched the internet and MS FAQ's for an answer without any results.

    Hopefully I am not the only person who has experienced this problem and I will obtain an answer here.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:20 PM

All replies

  • It sounds to me as if something has been corrupted in your system's copy of either Jet, or the MDAC. "Jet" is the database engine that manages the data in Access Databases (".mdb files"), but it is also used by Word to get data from mailmerge data sources that you create in Excel. "MDAC" stands for "Microsoft Data Access Components" I think, and is also needed for Word to get data from Access, Excel, and some other types of data source.

    For MDAC, you could start here:


    which links to an "MDAC component checker" that you can download here:


    I would check that before looking at Jet - I was only able to find troubleshooting articles for Jet 3.5, and your version is almost certain 4.

    You could also attempt a "System Restore" using Control Panel backup and restore. If you have a suitable restore point just before things started going wrong, that may put things right. In theory system restore operations are not supposed to lose your documents, data files etc., but I would make sure everything is properly backed up before attempting a restore.

    Peter Jamieson

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:45 PM
  • Thank you Peter, I will follow your suggestions.
    Tuesday, May 29, 2012 2:18 PM