Mail Merge is the process of merging two documents together to create a new document. It is commonly used to merge a letter with a list of recipients to create a personalised letter addressed to each recipient in the list.
The list of recipients can be stored in an Excel spreadsheet, Access database or even taken from your contacts in Outlook.
Creating a mail merge uses a six step mail merge wizard which starts with setting up the main document, and finishes with running the mail merge.
Mail Merge to a Letter
Set up the Letter
- Click Tools > Letters and Mailings > Mail Merge
- Select Letters from the list of document types
- Click the Next: Starting document link at the bottom of the task pane
- Step 2 of the wizard asks where your starting document is. Select the required option
- Click the Next: Select recipients link
The Mail Merge task pane appears
Select the Recipient List
- Step 3 of the wizard prompts you to select the recipient list. Select the required option
- Click the Edit recipient list link to exclude recipients or filter the list
- Click the Next: Write your letter link
Type New List: Create a new list to use as your data source. This is useful when people's details are not already stored on file like when sending job interview confirmation letters
Use Existing List: Select an existing data source such as an Excel spreadsheet or Access Database
Select from Outlook Contacts: Use the names and addresses stored in your Outlook contacts list
Add Mail Merge Fields to the Letter
- Step 4 of the wizard is where you add the recipient information to the letter using mail merge fields. Click in the letter where you want to add the mail merge field
- Click the required option from the list
- The merge field is inserted. Chevrons appear either side of the mail merge field distinguishing it from normal text
Address block: A block of fields relating to the name and address of the recipient. You can specify how the recipients name and address will appear and a preview of how the information will appear is displayed. If the name and address does not show correctly, click the Match Fields button and match the required fields
Greeting line: A combination of fields to be used for the greeting line of the letter. You can specify how the recipients name should appear
More items: Insert a single merge field from the list of recipients into the document
Repeat these steps for each field you need to insert
Preview the Mail Merge
Step 5 of the wizard is a preview of your merged documents. The mail merge fields on the letter have been replaced with the data from the first record from the list of recipients.
Preview the letters for other recipients by clicking the right chevrons and left chevrons in the task pane
Use the record selector buttons on the Mail Merge toolbar
Complete the Mail Merge
When completing a mail merge you will have the option of sending it immediately to the printer, or creating a new document where you can make further edits and save the document for future use.
- On step 6 of the wizard click on either the Edit Individual Letters link to merge to a new document, or Print Documents
- Select an option for the number of records you want to print or merge
- Click Ok
All: to merge all the recipient records
Current record: to merge only the currently displayed recipient record
Enter a range of records in the From and To boxes
The document is merged or printed