I’ve gotten multiple calls in the last few days about an error regarding invalid email addresses when preparing to print W-2s. You have to fix the problems before you can print W-2s even if you don’t need the email addresses. The first part of the error message says “The following errors occurred with your employee information. All cells with identified errors will be highlighted in RED; you must correct these errors before continuing.” Then it goes on to list the error/warning description “If email address is supplied it must be formatted correctly(xx@xx.xx).”

If you click the Print List button it prints a list of the errors (the information already on the screen) not a list of employees that need to be corrected. If you click the  Go Back and Correct button, you won’t see anything highlighted in red, despite what the error message says, or even any email addresses. So how do you go about correcting the problem? You have two options.

OPTION 1 – Go back to Maintain Employees and correct the bad email addresses.

  • Go to Maintain Employees
  • Click the List button
  • In the Employee List window click the Settings button
  • Select E-Mail in the Available Columns list and click the Add button. Click OK to close the window. Email will now be the last column in the list.
  • Look for any entry that doesn’t look like an email address, that is, anything not in the form of name@domainname.com. Of course other extensions like .net or .biz are also allowed. They don’t have to be real email addresses, they just need to look like they could be. For example, an obsolete email address will not cause this error.
  • When you find one, double click it and fix or delete the email address.
  • Repeat until you don’t see any bad email addresses.
  • Start the W-2 printing again (close it first if it was already open). Say No if it asks if you want to use your work in progress.

Now you should be able to complete W2s like normal.

If you are using the email address field to store something other than email addresses, you probably don’t want to delete that information. That brings us to…

OPTION 2 – Make Corrections in the W-2 Wizard

  • When you get the error, click the Go Back And Correct button
  • The first problem employee will be highlighted
  • Go to the Edit menu, choose Columns, then Unhide
  • In the Unhide window, check the box for Email Address and click OK.
  • Use the scroll bar below the employee names to scroll to the right until you see the email column. Or drag the divider to the right until you can see the email column.
  • Any invalid email addresses will be highlighted in red. Delete or correct them.
  • Hide the email address column by right-clicking on the column heading and choosing Hide. If you don’t hide the column you will get an error when you try to go to the next step.
  • Click the Next Step button and continue printing like normal.

Any changes that you make here will not affect the data in Maintain Employees. So if you don’t make the corrections there too, you will get the same error next year when printing W-2s. But if you are intentionally storing other information in the e-mail address field, this method will let you process W-2s without losing the information your are storing there.