Any suggestions are appreciated...
I think I followed most of your explanation. But, since we can't see what you're doing, it's hard to know 100% what your reasons are for doing what you do. F'rinstance, I wonder why you're bothering with the Word merge at all. Without knowing why you have to run the merge in Word, I'd suggest this:
add headers to your Excel file
save out .csv
Use InDesign's Data Merge tool, skip Word entirely
Why do you need to use Word's Mail Merge? If you've never used Data Merge in ID, you should probably take a look at the Help file entry to see if it will work for you.
As far as I can tell, ID wont do a Directory Style Merge, unless I use a separate text object for each entry, and that is not practical. So, following advice from this forum, I used Word...
Perhaps I misunderstood. I will look at ID Merge again.
Depends on what you mean by a directory style merge. I use ID's Data Merge to do an annual directory for a local organization, and I think many other users do similar work. Yes, each record becomes a separate text frame, so editing is not necessarily as easy as it might be in Word (never done a mail merge in Word), but there are scripts that will thread the individual frames intoa single story if you need that.