Open Access Newsletter

Newsletter of the Australian Open Access User Group

June, 2000

Number 139

Please note that some formatting may not work correctly in the conversion to HTML.

AOAUG Meeting held 13 June, 2000

This Meeting was held at Judy Jeffery’s house.

The main areas covered were centered around using Mail Merge and inserting pictures and drawings in Word documents. Keith O'Donnell provided the following excellent tips.


Mail Merge in Word

Viewing Merged Data

To switch the display from field names to actual information from the data file:

again to switch to return to displaying the field names

Merging the Document

Use the Mail Merge Helper to execute the merge or use the merge buttons.

The merge buttons are:
Check for errors

Merge to another file. The form letter file created has section breaks at the end of each letter. This file can be saved as a separate file. 

Each merge letter in the file can be edited.

Merge directly to the printer
Change the sorting order and set the criteria for selecting the records to print.


Word Fields

This button lists fields which are useful for mail merging. These are useful fields:
If then else If a given condition is true, eg overdue = true, then a certain paragraph can be inserted, otherwise a different paragraph.
Next record Prints the next record without inserting a section break. This is used at the end of each mail label.
Merge Record# Prints the number of that record in the data list.
Merge Sequence No. Numbers the merged letters sequentially as they are printed. These numbers will be different from the Merge Record# if some records are not merged.


Changing the Setup - Change the Data Source

To change the name or location of the data file which is linked to the main document, use the Mail Merge Helper.

Display this window by either:

Mail Merge Button on the Mail Merge toolbar


Restore to Normal Document

If you need to remove the link to the data source, and revert the document to a normal Word file, use the Mail Merge Helper or Tools - Mail Merge menu.

Review of Mail Merge from OA to Word
  1. Export the df file to .dbf
  2. Go to Word
Formatting Fields

The field can be displayed as:

The <<abc>> button in the toolbar toggles display from the actual value to the <<field>> display.

Selecting the field and pressing Shift-F9 toggles display between the field code information (including formatting codes) and the previous display type.

Note: Any changes you make to the formatting codes may not be displayed until you move to another record to refresh the display.

Codes for Formatting

The formatting codes are prefixed by these switches:

Character formatting \*

Number formatting \#

Date-time \@

To display the codes you will need to select the field(s) and press Shift – F9.

Character Formatting \ *

\* Caps Capitalises the first letter of each word.

Eg. {MERGEFIELD FULLNAME \*Caps} = John Smith

\* First Cap Capitalises the first character of the text.

Eg. {MERGEFIELD Title \*FirstCap} = War and peace

\* Upper Capitalises all letters.


\*Lower Forces lower case for all letters.

Number Formatting \ #

\# #.00 Forces 2 decimal places.

Eg. {MERGEFIELD AMOUNT \# #.00} = 12.53

\# # Rounds the number to the nearest whole number, eg. rounds 12.53 to 13.

\# $#,###.00 Prefixes the number with $ and places a comma to mark thousnads, eg. $2,435.00

\# "$#,###.00; ($#,###.00); $0"

This code is in 3 sections:

Display of positive Nos; negative numbers; zero.

Here negative numbers will be displayed enclosed in ( ).

Zeros will be displayed with $0.

Note the code is enclosed in double quotes " ".

Dates \@ \@ ddd Displays the first 3 chars. Of the day (Mon, Tue, Wed).


\@ dddd Displays the full day eg. (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

\@ mmm Displays the first 3 chars. Of the month name (JAN, FEB, etc.)

\@ mmmm Displays the entre month name.

These d, m, y codes can be continued.

\@ dd-mm-yyyy eg. 08-12-1998

\@ dddd d mmmm yyyy

Eg. Tuesday 8 December 1998

The \* Ordinal code converts a number into an ordinal arabic text, eg. 8th. Notice it uses the \* switch (normally for numbers). This can be used on any number also.

Eg. {MERGEFIELD ITEM-DATE \@ dddd} , {MERGEFIELD ITEM-DATE \* Ordinal} {MERGEFIELD ITEM-dATE \@ mmmm yyyy} would display:

Tuesday, 8th December 1998


{If Statement

IF fields perform one of two alternative actions, depending on a condition you specify. If the condition is not met, an alternative action occurs.

To insert a Merge Field or Date, etc: For example:


______Condition_________________ Space_______ Space________

Value if Value if TRUE FALSE
Shift F9 -On the If field, switches between the display and coding of the field. Type in or insert further field codes here.
F9 -Select the field, press F9 to update.

Perform calculations in an IF field

Insert the IF field in your main document. In the Insert Word Field dialog box, click any field name in the Field name list as a temporary placeholder. In the IF field codes, replace the selected merge field with a = (Formula) field.

To print the results of a calculation, insert a = (Formula) field within the appropriate set of quotation marks. Note the use of the numeric picture switch (\#) to display the balance with a currency symbol.

The first = (Formula) field in the following example computes the current balance of each account. If a balance remains, the Formula field is repeated to report the current balance. If the computed balance is 0 (zero) or less, Word prints the alternative text, "Your account is paid in full. Thank you."

{ IF { = { MERGEFIELD Balance } - {MERGEFIELD Payment } } > 0 "Your current balance is { = { MERGEFIELD Balance } - { MERGEFIELD Payment } \# "$#,##0.00;($#,##0.00) " }." "Your account is paid in full. Thank you." }

NB. This information is the Microsoft Word Help file.

Exporting from OA to Merge

.dbf files can be imported into Excel or Access.

To import into Excel

The file can be opened and edited directly as a dBase file.

You can save the file as an Excel file if you wish by selecting File – Save As and changing the type of file to Excel Workbook. This is useful to massage the data before doing a Mail Merge.

Importing into Access

OR You may be asked to select an Index file (there is no Index file created from Access), so click on Cancel and the file will be linked / imported anyway.

A benefit of using Microsoft Access is a data source for Word is that you can create a "query" in Access that selects the records and fields to be used for the merge, and use this query as the data source for the merge.

You can even create additional columns in the query based on calculations, eg. GST:Amount*0.1 or

Amount Category: IIF(amount<100,"low", "high").

Graphics – Inserting Pictures

Many questions related to formatting pictures and drawings.

Inserting and Formatting a Picture

Insert Picture
Watermark / grey
More Contrast
Less Contrast
More Brightness
Less Brightness
Crop Picture
Line Style
Text Wrapping
Format Picture
Set Transparent
Reset Picture

Drop Cap

Drop Cap is used to emphasise the first letter of a paragraph. A frame is created automatically to contain this letter.

You can specify the frame to be placed within the paragraph or as a side heading at the left of the paragraph.

Creating a Drop Cap

Framing Pictures

It is usually easier to position pictures if they are placed in a frame. Document text will then automatically wrap around the frame.

To place a picture inside a frame:

To place a frame around a picture already in the document: Inserting a Frame

Creating an Empty Frame

The cursor will now appear as crosshairs. A rectangle with a shaded border will appear.

Enclosing Text and Pictures

To place a frame around text or pictures,

A frame will be created of the size required to enclose the selected text or picture.

Formatting the Frame

The frame has a series of formatting options itself. To display the frame formatting options,

Shading Paragraphs

Paragraphs can also be shaded.

Increase the right indent to reduce the width of the shading.

The effect of white printing on a black background can be created by combining the Solid shading option with Font Formatting, which specifies a White colour for the printing.

Uses of Frames/Text Boxes

Frames enable more flexible formatting than is usually possible.

Frames can be used to position text, drawings or pictures in any part of the document. For example, frames allow you to place text or pictures in the margins or in the middle of other text

Semi-Transparent Text Box

Word 97 has an option: ‘Semi-Transparent’ which allows existing text in the background to show faintly through the frame.

Insert a Watermark To display the watermark behind the text:
  Inserting a Text Box around Text

The Insert – Frame option is replaced by Insert – Text Box, which allows you to place a text box around selected text and position the box where desired.

Inserting an Empty Text Box Convert a Text Box to a Frame Creating a Border

You can place a border around any edge of the selected paragraphs.

Horizontal borders extend between the left and right indents of the selected paragraphs.

To create a border,

To shorten the horizontal borders, increase the left or right hand indents.

(Either, choose Format - Paragraph from the menu or click and drag the indent markers in the ruler.)

Typical Layouts Using Frames

Side Headings

To produce a side heading,

By using a frame to create a side heading, the heading can wrap to more than one line. This approach can also be used for comments or summary text to appear at the side of the main document text.

Page Layout

Vertical Alignment

Sometimes you want the text to be centred vertically on the page. To do this,

To only apply this command to the text on one page, select the text before choosing this option.

Next Meeting - Tuesday, 8 August 2000 at Judy Jeffery’s at 6pm

Meetings will usually be held

on the 2nd Tuesday

of each even numbered month

at 6pm


Search our Website

A search feature has been added to the User Group Website. There are now dozens of pages, so it is best to try the search facility to narrow in on the pages that cover the topic of interest. If possible, please use this before contacting a User Group member for help.

Address for AOAUG:

The Secretary

Australian Open Access Users Group

PO Box 5003

Greenwich 2065

User Group Homepage Address

(Note the www2).

E-mail Address for User Group Queries: Michael has agreed for the OAUG members to send their queries by E-mail to him at his E-mail address. DISPI Address

The address for DISPI in the Netherlands is:

Vivaldistraat 18

5216 EL’s-Hertogenbosch


Technical Assistance Disclaimer

Users should not act solely on the basis of the material contained in this document. Items contained in this document are presented as possible solutions to problems but do not constitute advice.

In particular, no assurance can be given that the possible solutions will work in every situation or that loss of data will not occur. Always back-up data before trying to rectify a problem.