Automate Word Mailmerge Preview Results

(Long story short: the property you need is ViewMailMergeFieldCodes. Set it to 0 to enable preview; -1 to disable preview)

The mail merge process in Microsoft Word is a bit of a bear to automate sometimes. I suppose I should be thankful that it can be automated at all, but there are bits of it that are very poorly documented, requring a bit of trial and error to work with. It doesn’t help that most Office interop documentation leans toward Visual Basic…

Anyway, today’s issue was attempting to programmatically Preview the results of a Mail Merge in a C# VSTO project, like the button in the ribbon:

Big surprise: Document.MailMerge doesn’t contain any properties or methods with the word “preview”

Turns out there is a property called ViewMailMergeFieldCodes that does what we need, but in reverse. Microsoft’s documentation states:

This property returns True if merge field names are displayed in a mail merge main document, and False if information from the current data record is displayed

Trouble is, the field is an int, not a bool! A little debugging to the rescue:
When this field is set to -1, Preview is disabled, and the field codes are displayed.
When set to 0, Preview is enabled, and the record data is displayed.

To switch the displayed record, change Document.MailMerge.DataSource.ActiveRecord.

Now if only there was an event that fired when the record changed…

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