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PDFMaker doesn't recognize [next record] Word mail merge code when merging to PDF

Community Beginner ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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A procedure that we've been using for months has suddenly stopped working. Word mail merge to PDF is throwing an error: it's not recognizing <<next record>> as a legit merge code.

 

We're running Office 365 on Win10, all updates applied.

 

I'm running a Word mail merge, with data sourced from an Excel worksheet. I'm trying to run the merge directly to PDF, per the "Merge to Adobe PDF" function. (We run this particular merge frequently, but this is the first time it has failed.)


We're getting an Adobe error message that the <<next record>> merge code is not valid. We've deleted the <<next record>> merge code and re-run the merge-to-PDF, but we still get the Adobe error message - even though the code is no longer in the document. We've created a copy of the Merge master .docx - Adobe still throws the error.

 

We can, however, use the Word merge function to create a new document containing merged records, and that works fine.

 

Both Word and Adobe have been updated and are current. I also did the Adobe PDF repair procedure suggested in another topic.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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Can you please share a screenshot of the error?

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Community Beginner ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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Adobe_PDF_MergeFail.JPG

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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Ok, can you describe the steps that you 're following after the file in Excel is saved?

 

Are you exporting an MS Excel workbook to PDF before the merge? or are you trying to use MS Excel data directly in MS Word to fill out the Mail Merge template fields?

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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I'm not exporting anything to Excel.

An Excel spreadsheet is the data source for the Word mail merge.

The steps are the usual ones:

  1. Open the merge master file in Word.
  2. Under Mailings, select the Merge to Adobe PDF function.
  3. Select the records to include.
  4. Receive error message above.

We have run this same process with these same Word and Excel files dozens of times in the last several months. The error started showing up today.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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Yes I am trying trying to recreate your scenario on my end having a similar issue. So  I just find out there is an update avaialble. I am trying to finish this update and see. 

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Community Beginner ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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I ran the Adobe update. I have Windows updates pending.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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So as I am reading, have you use the remove duplicates feature in Excel, that is just an idea.

 

The other suggestion, is this excel data source saved in the same location as before? or is it saved at an HTTP location?

 

See these Microsoft guidance : https://support.office.com/en-us/article/prepare-your-excel-data-source-for-a-word-mail-merge-2d802b...

 

And check if any steps were skipped.

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Community Beginner ,
May 14, 2020 May 14, 2020

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The Excel file is fine; we've been using it for several months. As we are generating a run of product labels, it has duplicates, but that hasn't been an issue.

 

When we run the Word mail merge to generate a new document (instead of merging directly to PDF), the merge works fine.

 

Why would Adobe not recognize a standard Word merge code? Per my previous post, even when we remove the [next record] code, save the file without it, then reopen it and re-run it, Adobe *still* chokes on the [next record] code  - or at least, reports it as such - even if the code is no longer in the merge master document.

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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Hi

 

Is it possible to share the Word file along with Excel records with us to reproduce the issue?

 

Thanks

Tanvi

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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Hi

 

I tried this at my end with the documents you shared. There is a <<Next Record>> field in Word document which is not present in Excel sheet. After deleting that field from Word document, I could no longer reproduce this issue. 

Can you check once at your end?

 

Thanks

Tanvi

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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Tanvi - If you do not include the <next record> code in the merge document, the merge process skips every third record that is present in the data file. Note that we have been successfully using this merge document and this spreadsheet to generate product labels for a number of months.

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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Hi

I tried at my end, but I couldn't reproduce the third record getting skipped issue. Given the fields that the current Word document has, none of the fields seem to be changing for any of the merged records. Am I missing something?

Thanks

Tanvi

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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Tanvi - That Word file doesn't work properly with PDFMaker. When I run the merge to PDF - specifying the first 8 records only - I get a message that the Merge was successful, but when it attempts to save the PDF I get this message:

 

LeeTay_0-1589820472252.png

I end up with a PDF with only one page of labels, and only showing the data from one record. (The purpose of the merge is to assign a unique identifier (a serial number, basically) to each label. If you remove the <next record> code, you get two labels with the same identifier. (Look at the serial number underneath the bar code.)

I'll forward you a copy of the (failed) PDF by email.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 21, 2020 May 21, 2020

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I would suggest that you try and apply the two updates that were released for May 2020. A few issues were addressed on those updates. Two of the known issues addresses fixes for the PDF Maker add-in for MS Outlook and with MS Excel. 

 

https://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/ReleaseNotesDC/index.html

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Community Beginner ,
May 26, 2020 May 26, 2020

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Updates to Adobe PDF, Windows, and Office have all been applied, and AdobePDFmaker still will not recognize the Office/Word <next record> code as a valid merge code.

I have scanned through the links provided, and none of them offer a solution to my circumstances.

There is one other element in the picture: we use an Excel plugin - TBarCode Office by TECH-IT - to generate a barcode image based on a (unique) serial number in each row. The merge function then places that image on the merge document. This plugin has been functioning correctly for months, and doesn't appear to be related to the issue of the Word merge code acceptance, but I'll mention it anyway. I have also contacted TECH-IT support to see if they have any awareness of the issue.

Again, I'll note that if I use the standard Word merge function to create a merged document, there is no issue with the <next record> function and the merge proceeds correctly. It is Adobe PDFmaker's balking at that merge code that is the issue.

This issue remains unresolved and open as a support request.

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Adobe Employee ,
May 26, 2020 May 26, 2020

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Hi

We checked at our end with previous release of Acrobat and observed that this issue happens in it as well. So nothing changed with Acrobat in the new update. 

We didn't have TBarCode Office by TECH-IT plugin installed at our end and are not aware how it works. 

Are you sure that you were using Acrobat version released in March 2020 earlier with which it was working or were you on an even older version?

Also, please check with TBarCode Office by TECH-IT if they have made any changes in their plugin that might cause issues.

Thanks

Tanvi

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Community Beginner ,
May 26, 2020 May 26, 2020

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Tanvi... Thanks for checking in. We started running these merges and using PDFmaker back in September, and the problem cropped up in early May. I don't know what version/build of Acrobat we were using in the early days, but we did install Acrobat updates when your team suggested it (after the problem started).

I have put in a support ticket to TECH-IT and explained the situation. They're in Germany, so it may be tomorrow before I hear anything back from them; if I do, I'll let you know.

 

As ls-rbls notes below, we're among a number of users having issues with PDFmaker, so it seems we're along for the ride. We're merging to Word doc just fine, and can easily PDF the file from there.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 26, 2020 May 26, 2020

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See their guidance here about those errors: https://www.tec-it.com/en/support/faq/tbarcode-office/tbarcode-office-installation/Default.aspx#1072...

 

From what it looks like this is an old tool that was primarily meant for Windows 7 and XP. And the MS Office versions described in the support link above are meant to support up to version 2010 of MS Office. That is heavily outdated.

 

This makes me wonder if you performed your Windows 10 upgrade on top of the old MS Windows7. Because if that was the case there may be a lot more things involved.

 

Since you've done a major upgrade of MS Office and the MS Windows operating system, I did posted in my prior reply some other links that point to known compatibility issues.

 

The problem that you've described with the <<next record>> field  is not related to the TBarCode Office tool.

 

This is a known issue and has to do with compatibility issues between the PDF Maker add-in and MS Office 365.

 

There are a a lot of users reporting issues with this PDF Maker add-in.

 

A user that I was trying to help before manifested that trying to apply a  passwrod to protect the PDF output file the merging feature did not respeced the  password security restriction at al sfter the merge.

 

I tried this myself on MS Windows 10 with MS Office 2016 and 365. In both cases no password restriction where applied after the merge. 

 

So here's the deal, IF,  on the other hand,  you have a brand new computer with MS Windows 10 and Office 365, where you  installed the TBarCode software, you may want to run that program in compatibility mode and assign backward compatibility for Windows 8 or 7. You will need to let the compatibility troubleshooter wizard decide if the application is supported or not in MS Windows 10. 

 

There are some additional interesting workarounds posted by By Donna Baker back in January 5, 2010 in the link below:

 

 

 

 

See this part: 

 

Tips for handling the document

Here are a few quick ways to fundamentally change the content of your Word document by manipulating its content or the code associated with it. Repairing the structure of the Word document or overwriting an erroneous file component may be all that's standing in the way of a properly exported PDF file.

  • Rename the file: Resaving the file with another name overwrites data stored with interim saves that may be the source of the conversion problem.
  • Move the content: Select the entire document -- except for the final ¶ (para tag) -- and paste to a new document. Word stores much of the file's data at the end of the document. Moving all the content to a new file retains your content, but places it within a new file structure.
  • Rename your template: Normal.dot template file. Just like renaming a document file, renaming the template can overwrite any structural issues.
    Note: In Office 2007, the file is named Normal.dotm if you use the macro-enabled document template format.
  • Save the file as XML: Saving the Word file as XML restructures the file. Then, resave the XML file as a Word document again. The Export > Resaveprocess reconstitutes the Word document with a new structure.

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
May 26, 2020 May 26, 2020

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ls_rbls...

 

Thanks for all the digging, but I'm not sure what lead you down that path. The computers running the merge are both Win10 native boxes, not upgrades, and they're running Office 365 and always have.

 

The BarCode app was installed last September and used successfully ever since.

I concur with your points:

"The problem that you've described with the <<next record>> field is not related to the TBarCode Office tool...This is a known issue and has to do with compatibility issues between the PDF Maker add-in and MS Office 365...There are a a lot of users reporting issues with this PDF Maker add-in."

Rather than complicate things with any further workarounds, we'll continue to run the merge to a Word doc and convert to PDF from there. I don't think this needs any further assistance until Adobe addresses the problem and fixes the app.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2020 May 15, 2020

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Not sure what could be the issue.

 

From what you've shared, I am inclined to think that after an update (or upgrade ) a compatibility issue popped.

 

I think the current Adobe PDF Maker add-in is not compatible with your Office 365.

 

You're not the first user that I've tried to help that has confirmed  unexpected issues with the MS Word mail merge, specially if it was working before.

 

According to Adobe Helpx guidance this seems to be a known issue.

 

See here: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/troubleshoot-acrobat-pdfmaker-problems-office.html#temp_problem 

 

And here is Microsoft guidance on how to also troubleshoot the PDF Maker add-in:

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/troubleshoot/miscellaneous/incompatibilities-between-office-... 

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/officeupdates/release-notes-microsoft365-apps 

 

Additional tips:

 

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/get-the-adobe-acrobat-tab-to-appear-b83cbba3-7bc1-4c75-b8dc... 

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New Here ,
Jul 06, 2021 Jul 06, 2021

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Thank you for posting, I'm having the same very frustrating issue.  Can't merge if the "{Next}" tag is in the document.

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