Date: 11/10/2018 | By: Les Gutteridge

MS Word to perform Mail Merges, this can be a thorny problem, and I get loads of questions about it, so I hope what follows will sort a few things out for you. 


Once set up, Mail Merge can save you a huge amount of time, plus, you can really impress colleagues, clients and even yourself with the results! Have a read and download the example files too, you will need to reconnect them. 

Well  …….
So, what is Mail Merge? 
You often use mail merge to send out standard letters or emails to many customers or contacts. These will have the same static text but understandably the address and the “Dear …” salutation will be different for each recipient. 
You can use mail merge for other types of merge documents, though – address labels; envelopes, and directory lists … 
Mail Merge is actually two documents working in tandem: 
  • The MAIN Document which contains static text and merge field “hotspots” for variable data (eg Standard letters, Labels, Emails …) 
  • The DATA Source (Word calls this the RECIPIENT List) which is a table of data either in another Word doc, an Excel spreadsheet or Access database. This table supplies the variable data for your Letters, Labels, or Emails. 
  • It is easier to set up Recipient List in advance and my preference is a table in Excel. You then connect this to the Main document via the Mail Merge Wizard (see below) 
  • Also, it is useful to show the Mailings Tab and Mail Merge Wizard

(Both illustrated below.)) 

Creating the DATA Source List 
  • Decide on the field (column) headings you need and type them on Row1 in new Excel spreadsheet & format to suit 
  • Complete each subsequent row with one recipient’s details 
  • Save the file with a suitable appropriate name and in a folder you can find again easily then close Excel (Step 3 below) 
Working out the look of the Main Document 
  • Until you’re confident with mail merge, I suggest you type up the Main document in full, print it and use a highlighter to identify the variable parts of the document. (Similar to the illustration with the yellow highlighting here.) 
  • Later, replace the marked areas one at a time with the appropriate Mail Merge Field (Step 4 below) 
Using the Mail Merge Wizard 
All the heat is taken away from mail merging if you show the Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard Task Pane. 
  • Activate this by clicking: Mailings Tab > Start Mail Merge > Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard 
  • Navigate to Next … / Back through the 6 Steps of the process 



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