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mail merge does not transfer degree symbol

by calycadenia / November 21, 2006 3:58 PM PST

I am using MSWord 2000 and Excel 2000 on a pc running windows xp. I have successfully generated complex labels from a complex spreadsheet using mail merge but have one problem. Some labels require latitude and longitude designations but the degree symbol in the xl spreadsheet is translated to a blank space in the merged Word document. I don't know if this is a general problem with symbols or is specific to the degree symbol. Any insight or help with this would be greatly appreciated.

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How exactly ...
by Kees Bakker / November 21, 2006 4:27 PM PST

do you get the degree symbol in the field in Excel? Is it in a different font than the other characters in the field? What's the field format in Excel?

It might be necessary to add the degree symbol in Word, somehow splitting the field in Excel. It's a rather interesting problem, but you surely don't give enough information for me to try to reproduce it.


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reply to kees
by calycadenia / November 22, 2006 4:28 AM PST

Thanks for your reply. Here is some more info. The column format in excel is "general", the degree symbol was added by keystroke alt+0176 and it appears as it should in excel. Initially the excel font was arial and the word font was times new roman but the results were the same when I made both either arial or times new roman. Although I see the symbol properly in excel it translates to a blank space in the merged document. Incidentally, so far as I can tell (for the normal character set, at least) the final result will reflect the setting in the word merge template doc regardless of the excel font setting.

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Re: degree symbol
by Kees Bakker / November 22, 2006 6:21 AM PST
In reply to: reply to kees


Clear information. I don't have the time at the moment to experiment with this, but I'll find time within 2 days. It's the kind of problem I like, even if it's unlikely that I can solve it.

Maybe, in the meantime, some other member can shed light on it. It seems easy to reproduce. I've always understood that text fields are transferred without any change during mail-merge, so it is kind of a shock to me, that 'extended ASCII' symbols are treated differently. Here in Holland we do have first names like Ren

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re degree symbol mail merge problem
by calycadenia / November 22, 2006 8:34 AM PST
In reply to: Re: degree symbol

Thanks, Kees,

That is a good suggestion that should not be too painful in my case. Still, I would like the program to work as expected (as it seems you would as well). We'll see if anyone else has a clue why this I am experiencing this quirk.

Thanks again!

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Can't replicate this
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 22, 2006 7:52 PM PST

An interesting problem, but very frustrating for you.

I can't replicate this, but all I am doing at the moment is inserting a worksheet into a blank Word document, (Office XP - Word and Excel 2002), and not attempting any mail merge. So perhaps I am doing something wrong.

But in Excel I have entered the

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mailmerge degree symbol problem - continued
by calycadenia / November 23, 2006 4:01 AM PST
In reply to: Can't replicate this

Thanks for having a look, Mark. I am not sure exactly what you did. However, I just created an excel file (in excel 2000) with the degree symbol character (

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How about Alt 0186?
by Khornight / November 23, 2006 4:37 AM PST
In reply to: Re: degree symbol

I guess it's kind of a work around as alt+0186 is actually a superscript "o", it's a big bigger than a real degree, but I doubt people will notice.

Oh and I checked, it does work in mail merge.


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Still can't find an edit button!
by Khornight / November 23, 2006 4:45 AM PST
In reply to: How about Alt 0186?

Oh, by the way I to would be interested in knowing why the other degree doesn't work too...

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by Khornight / November 23, 2006 5:19 AM PST

Turned this up (I can't copy the relevant bit for some reason!):

Look at the post from Peter Jamieson at 17.50 or so, I don't understand what he's talking about, but it might help someone who knows more than me.

(hurray for the brits Wink

Found another quote later on from him suggesting the alt0186 method too.

Oh and another work around would be to deplace the symbol with the word degree, would that work?!

Oh and on the subject of why, there must be a reason it's being converted into a space, is there any kind of special characteristics that you notice with the spaces, as word shows non-line-break space as degrees, but the line breaks still happen where the degrees are... I thought it might possibly change the effect at the beginning of lines and neither spaces or the spaces created in the place of degree's transfer to the word sheet.

As you can tell I'm procrastinating over some work I really should do... but I'll give up now.

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Intermediate results.
by Kees Bakker / November 23, 2006 5:33 AM PST

I can definitely reproduce your problem (with Office 2000). Copy/paste goes wonderful, mail-merge loses info.

To be exact:
- not (alt-0172) and pilcrow sign (alt-0192) disappear completely;
- degree (alt-0176) and middle dot (alt-0183) are changed in a space.
- all other symbols seem to work fine
It's a mystery indeed. Only some people at Microsoft are able to tell the why, I suppose.

Indeed, the alt-0186 works fine. It's called a 'masculine ordinal', for reasons I don't know. And yes, all sexes are equal, so there's a feminine ordinal also; it's alt-0170. That looks like a superscript a.

I tried saving the spreadsheet to csv-format with the same results. Tomorrow I'll try the ODBC and Word-document work-around as suggested in in one of the links below. And MS Access, of course.

Will be continued.


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Now it works!
by calycadenia / November 23, 2006 8:51 AM PST
In reply to: Intermediate results.

Below you will find my paste-in of Peter Jamieson's fix from the link Kees posted in the previous message. I just tried the first method (much preferred) and it seems to work just fine. I assume the second method would also work but for me the resulting table in Word was too unwieldy to deal with.

The earlier suggestion of substituting a standard symbol for the extended symbol and then replacing it in the merged document was certainly workable and the alt+0186 suggestion was even easier. Either of these would have let me accomplish my goals. Thanks to all who helped with these suggestions. Here are Jamiesons "fixes".

"Yes, this character does not appear to get through when you use the default connection method (DDE), or the ODBC connection method. Try connecting again, but in the Open Data Source dialog box, check "Select method" and choose the "Microsoft Excel Worksheet via Converter" option. Another approach would be to select the spreadsheet, Edit|Copy, then Paste|Special in RTF format into a blank Word document to create a Word table, then use that as the data source."

One might still wonder why the degree symbol doesn't work with the default mailmerge link but at least now there is a solution. I have even more to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day in the USA.

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Re: now it works!
by Kees Bakker / November 23, 2006 11:59 PM PST
In reply to: Now it works!

I did a little bit more of experimenting.

The ODBC with conversion method worked fine, indeed, but not for cells that had the result of a formula, just for plain text cells.

And copy/paste to rtf (no need to maintain it in Word, of course, just a work-around to print) also worked very nice with one quirk: the alt-0173 (soft-hyphen, represented as a dash in Arial) came out as a not-sign (identical to alt-0172).

Access didn't work correctly: it behaved just like Excel in default DDE-way. I didn't try to select another method, though.

Many thanks to Knornight for finding the solution by Peter Jamieson. And many thanks to you, Calycadenea, for your cooperation in solving this. You were very communicative, and that surely helped.


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