How do I use "Mail Merge" in Microsoft Word

Question

Can you tell me how to use “mail merge” in Microsoft Word?

- Rick

Answer

This question was answered on March 7, 2001. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Mail merge is a wonderful tool that is used to create personalized letters or mailing labels for large numbers of people by inserting the recipients name, address or whatever information into specific fields in the document Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more complicated tools to use

The basic components of a mail merge are the original document and the database or listing of names that need to be merged into the documents There are a number of ways to create a “database” that can be merged into a Word document, including Excel spreadsheets, but it is less complicated if you use Word to create the merge list.

The following instructions will work in both the Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Word:

Start with a blank document and open the “Tools / Mail Merge” menu option in the Word menu bar which will open the “Mail Merge Helper” window Click on the “Create” button, then on the desired item (Form Letter, Mailing Labels, Envelope, etc.), which will ask if you want to use the Active Window or New Main Document Choose Active Window, which will use the document that is currently open

The next step is to create your list or “data source” by clicking on the “Get Data” button on step 2 of the “Mail Merge Helper” window Choose “Create Data Source” which will open the “Create Data Source” window Review the list of Field names in the right hand box and remove any that are not needed by highlighting them and clicking on the “Remove Field Name” button If you want to add new fields, type them into the “Field name:” box and click the “Add…” button When you are finished editing the fields, click on the “Ok” button, which will open an Explorer window so that you can give the list a filename Be sure to pay attention where you are saving this list document for use in the future.

Once you have saved the file, choose the “Edit Data Source” option from the message that comes up, which will present you with a “Data Form” interface for creating the individual records that you want to merge into your document

When you have finished creating the records, click the “Ok” button, which will return you to the original document screen, which should be blank At this point, create the actual document that you want to merge to and insert “merge fields” by clicking the “Insert Merge Field” button just above the document on the left side of the screen For instance, you would type “Dear” press the space bar, then click the “Insert Merge Field” button then select “FirstName” This will insert «FirstName» which is the code that tells Word to insert “first name” from the data source into the document when it comes time to print or save the documents.

Once the document is completed with all the merge fields desired, click on “Tools / Mail Merge” and click on the “Merge” button in the “Mail Merge Helper” window In the “Merge to:” box, select whether you want to create a new document or send the merged documents to the printer or e-mail.

If you found my text instructions too hard to follow, I have posted a list of sites that have step-by-step instructions complete with screen shots at <a href="http://www.datadr.com/merge" target="_blank"><font color="#003399">www.datadr.com/merge</font></a>.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on March 7, 2001