Microsoft KB Archive/253437

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Works: Error Message When You Use Works Database File as Mail-Merge Data Source

Article ID: 253437

Article Last Modified on 1/27/2007


  • Microsoft Works 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Works 6.0
  • Microsoft Works Suite 2000
  • Microsoft Works Suite 2001

This article was previously published under Q253437


When you attempt to create a mail-merge document, you may receive the following error message if a Microsoft Works Database file is your data source:

Some of the field names in this mail merge list are blank or contain invalid characters, such as periods, brackets, or exclamation points. Please change these field names before you import data from this mail merge list.


This behavior can occur if the names of one or more fields in the Works Database file contain invalid characters.

Square brackets, periods, commas, and exclamation marks are invalid characters in Works Database field names.

NOTE: Curly brackets and parentheses are valid characters in Works Database field names.


To resolve this issue, download the Microsoft Works Mail Merge Patch from the following Microsoft Works Web site:

To work around this issue, rename any field names in the Works Database file that contain invalid characters:

  1. Start Works.
  2. In the Works Task Launcher, click the History tab.
  3. In the Name column, click the Works database file that you want to open.
  4. In the database, click a field that you want to rename. Note that the entire column is selected.
  5. On the Format menu, click Field.
  6. In the Field name box, type a new field name that does not include any invalid characters, and then click OK.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each field that you want to rename.
  8. On the File menu, click Close.
  9. When you are prompted to save changes to the database, click Yes.

Additional query words: w_works works2k w2001 wksdb mailmerge brace brackets improper

Keywords: kbdownload kberrmsg kbprb KB253437