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Printing a Word 2013 Mail Merge to Individual PDF Files

th_insert_merge_fieldMail Merge in Word 2013 is quite slick. The feature has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Yet it still falls short in general robustness. Want to have each item from the merge saved as a PDF? That’s not defaultly support from the menu. Prefer to have the bulk processed merge saved as a PDF? Again, the general user interface doesn’t allow this. Fortunately, I found some hacks that’ll have you performing both of these steps without the need for creating a macro or purchasing a piece of software.

Need help with a basic Mail Merge? Check out the Microsoft help on topic.

At this point I’m assuming that you’ve attached your recipients and set any merge fields required. You’re ready to complete the automated process and work with the end files.

Here’s how you can save your entire Mail Merge as a PDF file rather than printing or emailing.

  1. th_merge_to_new_documentFrom the Mailings menu select ‘Finish & Merge’.
  2. Select ‘Edit Individual Documents’ from the pop down list.
  3. Check ‘All’ in the Merge to New Document pop up.
  4. A new Word window will open previewing every single document the merge will generate.
    1. The speed at which the window fills up with all the previews depends on your computer.
  5. Go to the File menu.
  6. Click ‘Save As’ and select your destination.
  7. Set your filename and change the ‘Save as Type’ to PDF

You’ll now have a PDF comprising of the entire Mail Merge you just performed.

th_splitpdf

That’s question one tackled, but how do you split your PDF up? Ideally, you only need to dice it up at each page break or something similarly simple. If so, then there’s a simple slick website that’ll handle the rest of the task for free.

  1. Head over to SplitPDF.com.
  2. Select your file by using one of the sources, such as ‘My Computer’.
  3. Check the ‘Extract all pages into separate files’ option.
  4. Hit Split and download the ZIP file.
  5. Extract and enjoy.

Clearly, this isn’t a comprehensive solution. Nor the most robust – you can’t easily separate the files with names from the the Mail Merge fields, for instance. But it solved my need to print out a Mail Merge to PDF and then save each page as an individual file. Completely from standard features, without macros and on the cheap – FREE! Hopefully this will be equally useful for others. Let us know in the comments.

About The Author

Jeremy Whittington

Jeremy Whittington is the Founder & CEO of Thinkaholics, a cloud computing news and consulting firm. Over his 20 year career, Jeremy has served as an adviser, architect, and developer.

11 Comments

  1. aaa

    Clumsy but MUCH better than manually processing. Thank you!

  2. Arthur C.

    The problem this, Merge to New Document couldn’t handle large records, let say 50,000. For sure User PC couldn’t handle such capacity.

  3. wetwolverinebig balls

    Thank you

  4. Tom O'Connor

    Only works once you pay for it.

    • Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

      Tom, Are you referring to paying for Word, because you don’t need to pay for SplitPDF to get the hacky trick to work as of the writing.

  5. Hilary Furber

    Thanks so much for this tip – brilliant!

  6. Jackie H.

    Worked right out of the box. Thanks for this easy solution.

  7. Lawrence

    Excellent, time-saving tip. Thank you

  8. Nienke Lucas

    just split 50 individual letters for emailing – thanks heaps – saved me a lot of time!

  9. Garry

    A couple of Word Add-in programs will allow you to merge individual emails with PDF of the merge attached. First one is Mail Merge Toolkit from Mapilabs and the other is PDF Machine by Broadgun. Both are paid for options and work very well.
    PDF machine is the more expensive of the two and has more options for document security.

  10. Nita

    Should have looked for this ages ago! Thank you for an easy solution to this problem. It works perfectly.

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