I'm trying to create a mail merge document to print labels. My problem is that some of the text needs to be rotated 90 degrees, and that rotated text needs to include a mail merge field.

From Googling it appears the only way to rotate text is to use a text box. The problem I have is that a mail merge field inside a text box seems to have the same value for all labels on a given page.

For example, the mail merge field in the rotated text is supposed to be a serial number for each label. If the first serial number is "101" and there are 5 labels per page, I would expect the labels on the first page to have serial numbers "101", "102", "103", "104", "105", while the second page serial numbers would be "106", "107", etc. What I actually see on the first page is "101", "101", "101", "101", "101" and on the second page "106", "106", "106", etc.

This is only a problem if the mail merge field is in a text box. If the same mail merge field is in normal text (ie text not inside a text box) the serial numbers come out as expected. It doesn't matter whether the text box is rotated or not, the serial number problem is the same either way.

Is there any way of getting a mail merge field to display values in labels correctly, when it is embedded in a text box? Alternatively, is there any way of rotating the mail merge field text without using a text box?

EDIT: The Update Labels button doesn't fix the problem.


I found a work-around that might be useful for others in a similar situation:

For a Label Mail Merge template document, Word seems to create a table with a single cell per row, with each row representing a different label on the page. The table has no borders visible so it isn't immediately obvious the labels are embedded in a table.

In the first row of the table, where you want to create the label that will serve as the template for all others, insert a nested table. The advantage of using a nested table is that in Word the text in a table cell can be rotated. So set up the nested table with as many cells as you need, rotating the text in the appropriate cells.

Once the label in the first row of the outer table has been designed to your satisfaction, go to Mailings on the ribbon bar and click Update Labels. This will duplicate the first label in the remaining rows in the document, updating the Mail Merge field values as appropriate.

By the way, before trying a nested table I originally tried to split each cell in the original table, making two cells per row with one having rotated text. Unfortunately Word treated each cell in that table as a separate label so splitting each row into two really messed things up. Leaving the original table format unchanged and inserting a nested table into the first row worked perfectly.

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