Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Mail Merge in Word

This is a simple tutorial describe how to do mail merge in word.

  • Create a new document by clicking on File-New or Press Ctrl+N in keyboard
  • Go to Tools Menu and click "Mail Merge".
  • Under the heading, "Main Document", click on the "Create" button.
  • In the dropdown list, you will see four choices: Form Letters, Mailing Labels, Envelopes, and Catalogs. Select “Form letters” for this tutorial
  • You will see a box which alerts if you want to use the active window or a new main document......since you have a blank document on your screen, you have to select "active window".
  • Now, your Mail Merge Helper window has two more buttons available to you. Under the heading, "Data Source", click on the button that says "Get Data".
  • In this dropdown list, you will see four choices again: Create Data Source, Open Data Source, Use Address Book, and Header Options. (If you already have a database of addresses that you created previously in Word, Excel, or Access, you would choose "Open Data Source" and browse to find that file". If you want to use your Outlook Contacts for your addresses, you would choose "Use Address Book". Ignore the "Header Options" choice for now, since that is an advanced feature which is not covered in this tutorial".). For this exercise, you will choose "Create Data Source" and will make a new database of Addresses in Word. (Note: my personal preference is to create my database of addresses in Excel and use this for my Word Mail Merges, but this is a matter of preference only.) So, click on "Create Data Source".
  • This box will show you a list of fields that will be used by default. You can add or remove fields. To remove fields, simply highlight them in the list on the right and click on the "Remove field name" button on the left. For this exercise, highlight the following fields one at a time and remove them: job title, company, address 2, country, postal code, homephone, and workphone. When you are done, your list should only include title, firstname, lastname, address1, city, and state. Now, in the box on the left, below where it says "Field Name", type Zipcode. Then click on the button below it that says "Add field name". Now Zipcode has been added to the list and you know how to both add and remove fields in your list.
  • Click on OK and you will see the Save As dialog box. Name your address database file with a name you will remember and recognize and save it in a location where you can find it when you want to use it again in the future for another mail merge (see step 7 above where "Open Data Source" is discussed.). Click on "Save".
  • Now, you see a new box asking if you want to edit your data source or your main document. (If you were using a data source that was already complete, you would choose "Edit main document".) In this case, since we haven't yet put any information into our data source file, you will click on the button that says "Edit Data Source".
  • Now, you see the Data Form box. Fill in the information for the first person you want to add to your database. You may leave any of these fields empty if you do not have that field's info for any particular person. Once you have all the info filled in for the first person, click on the "Add New" button. (Note: do NOT click on the OK button as this will tell Word that you are finished creating your database and it will close this box. If you accidentally click on OK, prematurely, just go to tools>mail merge again and click on the button that says "Edit Data Source" and it will return you to this box.) After you click on the "Add New" button, your fields will be empty and you can add the second person. Continue adding people, clicking "Add New" after each one, until you have all of the people in your database. When you are done, click on "OK".
  • Now, you are returned to your blank document and you will notice a new toolbar at the top of your screen, which includes a button that says "Insert Merge Field". This is your Mail Merge toolbar and if you hover your mouse pointer over the various buttons you will see little popup windows which tell you what these buttons do. Notice there is a button for the Mail Merge Helper that will take you to the same place as going to the Tools menu and clicking on Mail Merge. Also there is a button for Edit data source, which will take you back into the Data Form box where you can add more addresses or edit any existing addresses.
  • Put your flashing cursor at the beginning of your blank document and click on the button that says "Insert Merge Field". From this dropdown list, click on Title. Notice that this inserts the title field into your document (It looks like <<>>) and your mouse pointer is blinking just to the right of this field. Hit your spacebar once to put a space between this field and your next field.
  • Now, go back to the "Insert Merge Field" button and select the FirstName field, hit your space bar again, then go back and insert the LastName field. You should now have a line in your document which looks like this: <<> <> . DON'T FORGET THE SPACES!
  • Now, hit your Enter key on your keyboard to move to the next line and insert your Address1 field. Hit Enter again to drop to the next line and insert your City field. Following your city field, type a comma (,), then hit the spacebar, then insert your State field, hit the spacebar, and insert your Zipcode field.
  • Now, hit your Enter key a couple times to drop down a few lines and type the word, Dear. Now go back to your Insert Merge Field button and insert the Title field, hit the spacebar, insert the LastName field and type a comma.
  • Now, hit Enter a couple times to drop down a few lines and type the body of your letter. (If you want any personalized info within the body of your letter, you can insert these merge fields within the body of your letter anywhere you want. For example you can try things like this.......I know this information will be useful to you, <>, so each letter will print with the individual's own name. Or, you could try ..... We have found this information to be especially relevant to people who live in <> and each letter you print will include the indiviual's own city.).
  • Once you finish the body of the mail, type your sign off line and signature and your form letter is complete.
  • Now, go back up to your Mail Merge toolbar and click on the button that says "Merge".
  • When the Merge box comes up, leave the settings as they are and click on the button that says "Merge".
  • Now you will see a new document with the information filled in for the first person in your database. Use your scrollbar and scroll down and you will see an individual letter for each person in your database with individual information filled in wherever you put fields.
  • Your mail merge is now complete and all you need to do is print it.
  • When you are finished printing it, you can close all of these files and save the ones you want. You probably will not want to save the individual letters with the personalized info in them, but you SHOULD save the letter with the merge fields in it, in case you want to send this same letter to another group of people in the future, and you MUST save your database of addresses if you ever want to use this database with a different form letter or envelopes or mailing labels (see step 7 above where "Open Data Source" is discussed.).
  • CONGRATULATIONS!! You have just successfully completed mail merge.
>) and your mouse pointer is blinking just to the right of this field. Hit your spacebar once to put a space between this field and your next field.>