Set Up Mail Merge
Preparing Source Documents
The mail merge process combines static information stored in one document (the main document) with variable information stored in another document (the data source). The main document contains the static text that will appear in all the merged documents. It also contains placeholders-called merge fields-that tell Word where to insert the variable information. The data source contains the variable information. You can prepare either source document first, but because you must insert the correct merge field names into the main document, it can be useful to prepare the data source first.
Preparing a Data Source
A valid data source is a structured document, such as a Word table, Microsoft Excel worksheet, Microsoft Access database table, or Microsoft Outlook contact list, that contains sets of information-called records-in a predictable format.
A typical data source file consists of a matrix of rows and columns. Each row contains one record, such as the complete name and address of a customer, and each column contains a particular type of information-called a field-such as the first name of all the customers. In the first row of the data source, each field is identified by its column header-called a field name.
Tip Because field names are also used as the merge fields in the main document, they cannot contain spaces. To make the field names readable with no spaces, capitalize each word, as in PostalCode, or replace the spaces with underscores, as in Last Name.
You can select recipients by entering them into a new recipient list, by referencing an existing data source, or by importing an Outlook contact list. When you import an Outlook contact list, all the contacts contained therein are automatically selected as recipients.To create a recipient list by entering information
- On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, click the Select Recipients button, and then click Type New List.
- In the New Address List dialog box, enter the first recipient's information.
- For each additional recipient, click New Entry (or press Tab) and then enter the recipient's information.
- When the recipient list is complete, click OK.
- In the Save Address List dialog box displaying the contents of your My Data Sources folder, enter a name for the recipient list file, and then click Save.
- On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, click the Select Recipients button, and then click Use Existing List.
- In the Select Data Source dialog box, browse to and select the file containing the recipient list. Then click Open.
- Start Outlook and, if necessary, provide the credentials for your email account.
- In Word, on the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, click the Select Recipients button, and then click Select from Outlook Contacts.
- In the Select Contacts dialog box, click the contact list you want to reference, and then click OK.
- To use only a subset of the contacts in the contact list, do one of the following in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box:
- Clear the check box located between Data Source and Last in the list header to clear all the selection check boxes. Then select only the recipients you want.
- Clear the selection check boxes of individual recipients.
Preparing a Main Document
You can create a Word document and then use it as the main document for a mail merge process, or you can create a document specifically for the mail merge process. Either way, you insert merge fields into the document in the location in which you want to insert variable information from the data source.
You can insert specific named merge fields or you can insert an address block or greeting line (salutation) that you tailor to suit your needs.To insert a single merge field
On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, click the Insert Merge Field arrow and then, in the list, click the merge field you want to insert.To insert multiple merge fields
- On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, click the Insert Merge Field button.
- In the Insert Merge Field dialog box, for each field you want to insert, click the field and then click Insert. After you insert the fields you want, click Close.
- On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, click the Address Block button.
- In the Insert Address Block dialog box, specify the address elements you want to include, and preview the results. Then click OK.
- On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, click the Greeting Line button.
- In the Insert Greeting Line dialog box, select the format of the salutation you want to use for recipients whose records include the salutation's required elements, and select the generic salutation you want to use for other recipients. Then click OK.