Percentages that look right in a Word Mail Merge

How can you put percentages into a Word mail merge? There are several methods including the one we like because it’s reliable and simple.

Following our article on importing Excel data into a Word mail merge, here are the options for using percentages.

Excel might show a percentage but the number stored is a fraction. For example 25% is stored in Excel as 0.25 . Normally, a Word mail merge will import the raw number from Excel and let you format it in way we’ve described before.

There’s more than one solution to the problem:

Formatting in Word

You can change the decimal fraction (eg 0.738) to a percentage (73.8) in Word.  To do it embed the MERGEFIELD inside another Word field.  This lets you multiply the number coming from Excel by 100 before formatting.

The entire field code looks like this:

{={MERGEFIELD PercentagefromExcel}*100  # “## 0%” }

Remember to press Ctrl + F9 to make the field – not the curly brackets on the keyboard.

Massaging a number in Excel

The most direct option is to add some columns in Excel with versions of the percentage figure that you can use in Excel.

Here’s a sample worksheet that shows you two different ways to ‘massage’ a percentage into a Word friendly form (the data is fictional).

Any of the four columns can be used for a Word Mail Merge — the choice is up to you.

Percentage: Column B is the fraction (eg 0.12) displayed as a percentage. This is the usual way percentages are handled in Excel.

Actual Value: exposes the value in column B in the way Excel stores it, in other words as a fraction. Just for demonstration purposes.

Percentagex100: is the fraction from column B multiplied by 100. Eg=B2*100. ‘Percentagex100’ sends a number (not text) to Word that you can format in any way you wish. There may be cases where you use the same Excel data in different formats for the mail merge.

PercentageasText: is the column B value converted to text (using the TEXT function) with percentage formatting applied. Eg =TEXT(B2,”##0%”) . ‘PercentageasText’ locks you into a single format to display in Word.

I prefer the ‘as Text’ options for numbers in a Mail Merge because what you see in Excel is exactly the same as what appears in Word. It’s the easiest to use, just insert into the merge document and it’ll appear exactly the same as in Excel.

DDE option

There was an older ‘Dynamic Data Exchange‘ system available for communication between Office apps. DDE has now been disabled in modern Office as a security risk. See DDE is finally dead … what took Microsoft so long?

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