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If you're using Microsoft Outlook and you keep track of all your contacts in the Contacts section, you already have a data source that could be used in a mail merge. If you own a business, let's say, and you keep track of all your customers in an Excel spreadsheet, you have a data source too. Well in this lesson we'll look at creating a separate data source by using a table in Microsoft Word. If you're going to use Word to create your recipient list or what we call our data source, that document must contain a single table only with the first row containing the labels for your fields.
So let's make one now. Of course we'll need a new blank document so click the Office button and then New. Make sure Blank Document is selected before you click Create. Now we need our table, so go up to the Insert tab, right below that, Table, give it a click and we're going to need six different fields so we'll want six columns, and we only need one row and as we start adding our recipients we'll build on the number of rows. So 6 x 1 is all you need, give it a click and we're ready to start typing in our labels.
So remember the first row has to be the labels and it's going to kind of give us an idea what goes in underneath those labels, such as people's names, their addresses and so on. So let's put our first label in here as the first name. I'll hit the Tab key on the keyboard to move from one field to the next. This one will be last name. Then we'll put in address, then we'll put in city and we'll put in state and the last one will be zip.
So by a separating these fields into a six different fields instead of one address field that has the address line, city, state and zip all together, we can use these the separate pieces in our document if we need to. Right now when we hit our tab key, you can see we get our new row and it's time to put in in the actual people's information. I'll type in John, put in Goodman, to give him an address 23 Ottawa Place and the city we'll be Tamarack and let's make that in California and call it 92432.
When I hit tab, we'll enter one more contact here. It doesn't really matter who you put in here so long as we have some information. Don't worry about formatting of the table if things don't fit, that's all right, and we'll just put in a make believe zip code here as well. OK, so we've got our data in here. We could continue entering more contacts if we need them, but let's just save this.
Now we want to hit the Save button up here on our Quick Access toolbar, and we need to give it a name so make sure you're looking at the lesson 13 folder here. And we're going to call it, Contacts is already taken, we're going to be using them a little bit later. So let's do Contacts13.docx or if you want, just let Word put that in for you, so long as the Save As Type field says Word document.
So hit the Save button, and we've now got our contacts. So let's see how this would work if we wanted to use it. We'll start a new blank document again. We'll go up to the Office button, click New and make sure Blank Document is selected before clicking Create. So here in our new blank document, we'll go up to Mailings and we'll go over to Start Mail Merge. And we're going to do a letter, so right here at the top, click Letters. All right, because we started the mail merge, what we create now is going to be our letter or active document.
This is also known as the main document. So all we need to do is select our recipients and we're going to do that by clicking the Select Recipients button here. We're in a use an existing list, the one we just created, we going to go find that in the lesson 13 folder so you need to navigate to your exercise files and get to the lesson 13 folder. OK. So there's Contacts13 the one I just created. And I click Open, and now it's selected and a new button has become available, which is to edit the recipient list.
Now the only way to know if this is going to work is to actually write a letter and merge it or to edit the recipient list. So let's see if we can edit our recipient list. We click this button, sure enough, there's the two people we just entered in that Contacts table that we created a moment ago in Microsoft Word. So we'll just click OK. So whether you use the wizard like we did in the last lesson or go through the steps yourself, you can select a recipient list you created in Word or any other list for that matter and keep in mind, you can have several of these list to choose from.
So you may have one list of personal friends, one could be customers, another family and you get the picture. So next we'll look a using these lists to create labels or print envelopes.
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