Microsoft KB Archive/246296

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Article ID: 246296

Article Last Modified on 1/16/2002


  • Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Direct Mail Manager for Windows

This article was previously published under Q246296


When you attempt to perform a mail merge using Microsoft Direct Mail Manager, you receive one of the following error messages:

Word was unable to open the data source.


An error occurred when trying to initialize the printer prior to printing. Please check your printer settings and try again.


An error occurred when trying to set the printer prior to printing.


These problems can occur when you do either of the following from the Design Mailpiece dialog box in Microsoft Direct Mail Manager:

  • When you click Test and then click OK in the Printer settings for labels dialog box to test print the first record of your address list.


  • When you click Next and then click OK in the Printer settings for labels dialog box.

When Direct Mail Manager is attempting to connect to Microsoft Word, the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) text driver may be used to process the Mergedata.txt file that Direct Mail Manager created when it imported your address list. For more information about why this happens, see the "More Information" section of this article.


To work around this problem, use any of the following methods.

Method 1: Remove the ODBC Text Driver

This method allows Word to use its own text converter instead of the ODBC text driver to read the data file. Follow these steps to remove the ODBC text driver:

  1. Quit Microsoft Direct Mail Manager, Microsoft Word, and all Windows programs.
  2. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  3. Double-click ODBC Data Sources (32bit).
  4. On the User DSN tab, select Text Files - Microsoft Text Driver (*.txt, *.csv), and then click Remove.

NOTE: When you are prompted with the following message: Are you sure you want to remove the Text Files data source, click Yes.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Restart Direct Mail Manager, and then complete your mail merge.

Method 2: Perform the Merge from Microsoft Word

You can perform the merge process manually from Microsoft Word and choose the type of data connectivity that you want to use. That is, you can manually choose to connect to the data file by using the text converter instead of the ODBC text driver and bypass some of the limitations of the ODBC text driver. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click OK to close the error message listed in the "Symptoms" section of this article.
  2. In Word, click Mail Merge on the Tools menu.
  3. Attach to the Mergedata.txt file that Microsoft Direct Mail Manager created as your data source by using the text converter.
    1. In the Mail Merge Helper, click Get Data and then click Open Data Source.
    2. Navigate to the Microsoft Direct Mail Manager folder. By default, Microsoft Direct Mail Manager is located in the following folder:

      C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\SBT\DMM

    3. In the Files of type list, select Text Files (*.txt).
    4. Select the Select Method check box.
    5. Select the Mergedata.txt file, and then click Open.
    6. In the Confirm Data Source dialog box, click Text Files (*.txt), and then click OK.
  4. Continue with the merge, adding merge fields as needed. Perform the merge by either merging directly to the printer or merging to a new document, and then printing the new document.

Method 3: Submit the Mailing to a Mailing Service

Rather than print your mailing yourself, you can submit your mailing to a mailing service. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Step 3 of the Microsoft Direct Mail Manager Wizard gives you the following options:
    • Quick and Simple - First Class Mail
    • Standard Mail
    • Easy - Use a Mailing Service
    • Do not print the mailing now

  2. Choose the third option, "Easy - Use a Mailing Service", and have a mailing service perform the task for you.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.


Microsoft Direct Mail Manager prints the mailing by connecting to Microsoft Word using OLE Automation and handing the task off to Microsoft Word for processing and printing. Microsoft Word then connects to the data source text file generated by Microsoft Direct Mail Manager and processes the request.

When you use a text file as a data source, Microsoft Word can either connect through an ODBC text driver or a text converter. For performance reasons, Microsoft Word always attempts to use the ODBC text driver to connect to the data source, if the ODBC text driver is installed. If the driver is not installed, Word uses the text converter.

The ODBC text driver that is included with Microsoft Office can process only certain types of information. If the text file contains tab-delimited text, comma- and quote-delimited text, or extended characters, you may receive one of the error messages listed in the "Symptoms" section of this article.

Additional query words: dmm

Keywords: kbbug kbnofix KB246296