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In Word 2007: Mail Merge in Depth, author Gini Courter demonstrates how to take advantage of Word's Mail Merge feature to save a tremendous amount of time creating customized documents. The course offers tutorials on creating letters, emails, envelopes, and labels. It also shows how to use Mail Merge with Outlook and Excel, creating data sources, inserting fields, using IF and other rules for customized merges, and troubleshooting Mail Merge issues. Exercise files are included with the course.
We have our primary merge letter open in front of us, we've done here error checking using the Preview Results tools, and now we're ready to finish our merge combining our letter with the records from the data source to create a series of personalized letters. There are two options for merging letters. You can either edit individual documents, or you can print the documents. You can think of these two choices that you find in the Finish & Merge group really as merge these to a file that I can look at then print, or merge these directly to the printer and don't stop even if I need you to.
If you need to keep a copy of the merged file, for example, to be able to provide proof that 80 individual letters were sent, then choose the first choice, Edit Individual Documents, because you will end up with one document that contains all of those letters. So, if we choose Edit Individual Documents, we can choose the number of documents. We could actually merge just one record if we wish to, or we could merge a range. We could say I'd like you to merge the first through the 10th records.
Notice that we're not filtering here. We are simply declaring a range of records that I would like to merge. So, let's go ahead and choose Edit Individual Records, merge them all, and say OK. Word will begin to create those individual letters one at a time that we can then print. If we wish, we can print them all at once or we can print just as you print any other print job in Word. We could choose to print pages 1-25, 26 and so on, if we needed to load stationary or other stock. How you print them is different then how you actually create them when you use Edit Individual Documents.
Our whole mail merge is done. We have a really long document, 206 pages long, that we can now print. We can also save it and print it again if we need exactly these same letters. But if I don't need to keep proof and I don't need to create these letters again there is really no reason for me to save this file. We can create it any time again using the primary letter in the data source. So, I am going to close this. My other choice is to print documents directly to a printer. So, if you're pleased with your mail merge and you don't need to keep a copy and you're ready to print documents, then choose Print Documents and you'll be asked again, what do you want to print? If you're going to print all of your records, you want to make sure that you have all the paper loaded that you need to have and that the print job won't be interrupted partway through.
So, this will be a good time before you say Merge to Printer to go down and if you need letterhead in the printer, make sure the letterhead is in there. Make sure somebody else in a workgroup setting hasn't swapped out the paper that you needed for some paper that they need for a current print job, because when this starts you are not going to be able to stop it from here in Microsoft Word. So, go ahead and choose the documents that you want to print. You'll note that there is nothing here at all for you to save. You click OK and head to the printer to pick up your records.
Your last choice here actually is Send Email Messages and we'll talk about that when we talk about how to create email messages in Microsoft Word, but it's not an option that you can use when you're printing documents. You know, the merge itself is really sort of anti-climactic. A couple of clicks and Word does the heavy lifting required either to generate the letters that you want into a separate file or to send them automatically to the printer. Either way, it's really easy to create these final merge letters and this final step is simply to choose Edit Individual Documents, Print Documents, and then to click OK.
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