Internal hyperlinks break after mail merge

Copper Contributor

I'm using MS Office 2016. I have a number of hyperlinks within the document which I created using the following process: Right click > Link > Place in this document > Select a place in the document (i.e. a place formatted with a Heading style from the styles menu). The links work fine in the original document.


The document is also set up for a mail merge. After completing the merge, the links no longer work in the new documents that are generated. The hyperlinks still exist, but when I press Ctrl+Click on the hyperlink, I am just taken back to the top of the document, rather than the appropriate place selected. If I select the link and press Shift+F9, the text of the link is the same as is originally was. If I right-click on the hyperlink and select "Edit Hyperlink", I can see that the hyperlink is no longer set to "Place in This Document" but "Existing File or Webpage", and an "Address" has been added.


Can anyone help me to get my internal hyperlinks working again?

10 Replies

@Chris_Ker Before executing the merge, save the mail merge main document in Word 97-2003 (*.doc) format.

@Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP Thanks for the suggestion but it didn't work. Also, when saving to the *.doc format, the content control boxes lost functionality.

@Chris_Ker Can you send a copy of the mail merge main document to me at dougrobbinsmvp[atsymbol]gmail[dot]com so that I can investigate the issue.

Will do
Did this issue ever get a solution? I'm having the same problem, and if there's a fix I'd love to know what it is.

@csuemiller You may have to resort to the work-around of saving a copy of your mail merge main document BEFORE executing the merge and then dispose of that copy.

@Doug_Robbins_Word_MVP OK. It's unfortunate this doesn't work. I have been working off a mail merge document that has been saved for several weeks. I need the internal links to work in the individual documents that are saved from the mail merge. The external links still work after the merge, so that's good at least.


Not the end of the world, just annoying. Thank you for your response!

@csuemiller I have just done a test using the Merge to Individual Documents and the Merge with Attachments facilities of my MergeTools Add-in and in both cases, a link inserted to a Heading in document functions in the documents created by executing the merge.


My Merge Tools Add-in is contained in the MERGE TOOLS file that you can download from:

Extract the files from the archive and read the:

“READ ME – Setting up and using the Merge Tools Add-in.pdf

to see how to install and use the various tools.

Using those tools, it is possible to perform the following types of merge that cannot be done with Mail Merge “out-of-the-box”:

  • Merge to e-mail messages either with or without attachments, with the documents created by the merge being sent as either Word or PDF attachments or as the body of the e-mail message .  The email messages can, if necessary, also be sent to CC and BCC addresses and the subject of the message can include data from a field in the data source.
  • Merge to individual documents in either Word or PDF format with the filenames being supplied by the data in one of the fields in the data source
  • Many to One type merges, which can be used for creating documents such as invoices where there are multiple records in the data source that have common data in one of the fields
  • Merging to a document that will include a chart that is unique to each record in the data source
  • Merging a document with Content Controls
  • Merging a document that contains Legacy FormFields
  • Duplex Merges
  • Merging to a printer that will collate and staple the output created from each record in the data source.

The requirements for using the system are:

  • The mail merge main document must be of the Letters type, though that does not mean that the output cannot be sent as an e-mail message where relevant.
  • For the Many To One, Merge with Attachments and Merge to Individual Docs utilities, the data source may be either a table or query in an Access database, or in the form of an Excel worksheet. For the Chart Merge utility, see the Mail Merging with Charts document that is included in the Merge Tools Add-in Zip file for additional requirements for the data source for use with that utility
  • For a data source in the form of an Excel worksheet, the field names must be in the first row of the worksheet and there must be a field name in all of the cells in that row that are within the range of columns that contain the data.
  • For both types of data source, the field names must contain only alphanumeric characters (No @,#,$,%,&,(,), etc) and the field names must not start with a numeric character (0-9). The number of characters in the field names, including spaces, must not be more than 40.

The MergeTools Add-in will NOT work with the “New Outlook”, which is just a re-badged version of Windows Mail and like its predecessor, it does not support automation and hence will not send the messages created by the MergeTools Add-in.

Be aware, that any messages that you had tried to send with the “New Outlook” will have been placed in the Outbox of the original Outlook and they will be sent as soon as you revert to that version of Outlook.   If you do not want that to happen, you should put Outlook Off-line, or disconnect your computer from the Internet.

Thank you. This didn't preserve the internal document links for me, but I appreciate your help. I'm already 1500 documents in, so we'll just be moving forward as is.

@csuemiller Can you upload the mail merge main document so that I can investigate the issue.