Chapter 9 Mail Merge in Microsoft Word

Mail Merge - Creating a Data Source

Mail merge is joining a Data source, such as an address book, with a Microsoft Word document. When the two are joined, or merged, you can print the results onto letters, or labels, or onto an envelope directly.
We're going to create a Mail Merge for a letter. Once we set up a database of people, we can insert fields into the letter. With the click of a button all the letters will be created, along with address information inserted. So open a new blank document and let's see how it works.

Creating the Data Source

The first thing we need to do is to create a database of people, along with their address information. We'll use this later with the mail merge.
To create your database, click the Mailings tab at the top of Word. From the Mailings tab, locate the Start Mail Merge panel:
The Start Mail Merge panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010
Click on Select Recipients to see a dropdown list:
The Select Recipients menu
We want to type a new list, so click on that item. You'll see the following dialogue box appear:
The New Address List dialogue box
This dialogue box allows you to type in address information, one address per line. If you scroll across using the scroll bar at the bottom of the dialogue box you'll see that there are a lot of columns you can fill in. You don't need to fill them all in, you'll be glad to know, just the ones you need.
To see how it works, type in a title, a first name, and a last name. You can use the same (fictitious) information as us. In the image below, we've entered Ms Helen James: (To get your cursor to flash in the next box, you can either just left click, or you can press the TAB key on your keyboard.)
A new address has been added
Now scroll across and enter the address information (12 Old Square, Evercrease):
Scrolling across the Address List dialogue box
To add a new address, click the New Entry button in the bottom left. A new row will be created, and your cursor will be flashing in the Title box again. Add the following addresses to your list:
Eric Khan, 10 New Square, Evercrease
Tommy Lee, 26 New Square, Evercrease
Priyanka Collins, 14 Old Square, Evercrease
When you're finished, your Address List should look something like this:
Four addresses have been added to the data source list
Now click OK. When you click on OK, you'll see the Save dialogue box appear:
The Save Address list dialogue box
Take note of where the file is being saved, and the file type. You are saving it in a folder called My Data Sources, which is in the My Documents folder. The type of file is a MDB database.
Type a name for you file in the File Name box. We've called ours Address_List. Click the Save button to save your address list. You will then be returned to Microsoft Word.
If you want to add new addresses to your list, click on Edit Recipient List on theStart Mail Merge panel:
The Edit Recipients item on the Start Mail Merge panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010
When you click on Edit Recipient List you'll see a dialogue box appear. This one:
Edit your mail merge recipients
Click on your Data Source in the small box just above the Edit button in the bottom left. Then click the Edit button to bring up the Address List dialogue box again, where you can add a New Entry to your list.

Creating a Mail Merge Letter

In the previous tutorial, we set up a mail merge data source. We can now create the mail merge letter itself. For this, we'll use the letterhead we created previously. But you can create a new blank document, if you prefer.

So click on the round Office in the top left of Microsoft Word, if you have the 2007 version. If you have Word 2010, click the File tab. Then click New from the menu. From the New Document dialogue box, select My Templates. You'll then see another dialogue box appear. Click on your letterhead template to select it, then click OK to create a new document with your letterhead on it.
For the text of the letter, type the following:
Dear ,
Thank you for the donation. It will really help us to continue with the project. We couldn't survive without people like your good self making a contribution.
The Team
Your letter will then look something like ours below:
A Letter ready for Mail Merge
To use your new database, click back onto the Mailings tab in the Office ribbon. From the Start Mail Merge panel, click on Select Recipients again. From the menu, select Use Existing List:
The Select Recipients panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010
When you click on Use Existing List you'll see a new dialogue box - Select Data Source. You should see your Address List database on the list of available ones. Click on this to select it, then click the Open button at the bottom.
The Select Daya Source  dialogue box
If you can't see any Data Sources then look in your Documents folder, then double click My Data Sources:
Select a MDB data source
When you are returned to Microsoft Word you will see that more options are available on the Mailings tab.
One of those options is the Write & Insert Fields panel. Think of a Field as one of your columns from your database (Title, First Name, Last Name, etc).
Position your cursor just before the comma after "Dear". Now click the Inset Merge Field item on the Write & Insert Fields panel to see the following:
The Insert Merge Field list in Word 2007 and Word 2010
The items on the menu are all the columns from your database. With your cursor just before the comma after "Dear", click the Title item from the menu. Now hit the spacebar on your keyboard. From the same menu, select the Last_Name field. Your letter will then look like this:
The letter has two merge fields
(The pointy arrows mean that you have a merge field inserted at that position.)
To get an address at the top left of the letter, you can insert more fields from the menu. But there is an easier way.
Position your cursor near the top of the letter. From the Write & insert Fields panel, click the Address Block item:
The Write & Insert Fields panel
You will then see this dialogue box appear:
Insert Address Block
The list box at the top left allows you to select whether you want a name added before the first line of the address, and in what format. If you don't like that format, select another from the list. You'll then see a new preview appear to the right. In the image above, we've selected a name format, and unchecked the box for "Insert company name". Everything else is left on the default.
Click OK when you're happy with your address formatting. You'll then see the following appear at the top of your letter:
The letter with an Address Block merge field
To see what effect all this has, you could click the Preview button on the Mailingstab. Instead, though, click the Finish & Merge button. From the menu that appears, select Edit Individual Documents:
The Finish & Merge panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010
When you click on Edit Individual Documents the merge will begin. Because we had four addresses on our list, we'll have four individual letters. The first one will look like this:
A mail merge letter
As you can see, the merge fields have been replaced with actual names and addresses. Each letter will be different, one for each of the entries on our list.

And we'll leave mail merge there. There's a lot more that you can do with it. For example, you can create labels for your addresses, and then merge from your list, use a different database and use queries - in fact it's a huge subject that will take you way beyond the advanced stage. If you want to explore further, use the following for a Google search (including the quote marks):
"mail merge" +"Word 2007"
Obviously replace 2007 with 2010 of you have that version. But you'll have a lot of results to examine!
In the next section, we'll take a look at tables.