Whenever I teach about mail merge, I always bring up those sweepstake letters we all get in the mail stating that we are millionaires. If we have the winning number. Now,over time those letters of gotten fancier and fancier, but one constant has remained. The letters created once only and then merged with a database of names and addresses to create thousands and thousands of letters that are personalized with each recipient's own information. Well, this is exactly what you can do with Word. You take a letter, an envelope, a label or any other document you want to share with many people, we call that the main document, and then you merge it with some form of database called the data source this data source can be Microsoft Access database, it could be your contacts in Outlook, could be even a table in a Word document and it can be also created on-the-fly.
Now regardless, you achieve the desired end result when you merge these two components together into one. So let's begin with the easiest way to perform a mail merge and that's with the step-by-step Mail Merge wizard. So the first thing we'll do is actually open up a document. You can go to your Office button, click Open and navigate to the lesson 13 folder, and that's where you'll find invitation. So in the lesson 13 folder, click invitation and Open. All right, so instead of spending time typing out an entire letter, I started one for you and you can see, we just need to fill in some blanks or create some fields.
Because the last thing we'd want to do it is to manually enter people's names and addresses in a large number of copies of the same document. It would be better to tell Word where certain pieces of information belong and where to get this information and then let Word put the information in there for us. So you can see here where we've got names, address, city state and zip. We've got some placeholders, if you will, for first name and you can see a little bit further down here, I think we use it again. So, what we need to do first is start up this wizard that's going to help us along.
We go up to the Mailings tab up here on the ribbon. Give that a click. And under Mailings, you can see we've got just a few options that are available to us right now. We've got the Start Mail Merge group and then we got Create over here for envelopes and labels. What we're actually going to do is start the mail merge so we give that a click and then what we're going to do is use that wizard at the bottom called Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard. So, as soon as we click that you see what happens over here on the right-hand side. We have to select our document type first and you can see we could be sending letters, email messages, there's envelopes and labels and a directory even as well.
But letters is what we want selected as this is a letter that we're sending out. So we come down to the bottom you can see, this is just step one of six. We click next, which is starting the document. Now because we created this document ahead of time we can use the current document and that is what's selected, but if we wanted to we could start from a blank template or start from another document and then go find it. So we open this document up first but we could have selected this and then opened it up later. We'll leave it at use the current document and click Next.
Here's where we go to select our recipients, we could use an existing list and I told you what that list could be. A database, Outlook contacts is right here or we can even type a new list on the fly. So I'm going to choose that one right there and you see what happens down below. Under Type a New List we have a little link here for Create New Recipient List. So let's do that. Now when we click on that you see the new address list, the dialogue shows up and we've got nothing in here, but we do have a number of columns with title, first name, last name, company, all kinds of stuff.
If we scroll over to the right, we could use all of these fields or just choose the ones that we want to use as well. So let's just fill in some of the information. We don't need title, but click in the first name field and let's just type in some make-believe people here. You can hit your Tab key to move from field to field. So under last same, I'm going to type in Corey, I going to this skip over the company name and for address line 1, I'm going to type in 3 Oak St. Over here, I don't need a second line. Tabbing across I come city.
I'm going to type in Ventura, tab over, CA for California, we'll put in a zip code, I'll make something up here, 91224, and I think that's all we actually need. So you can see if I was to tab across we've got all kinds of other fields to fill in if we wanted to. But if we're done, we just come down here and click New Entry to add another one. So I'll tab across so we'll just get 2 people in here, that's all we really need. I'll type in Diane, Bender for the last name, let's give her an address of 144 Elm Street.
We don't need a second address line, we'll put in Los Angeles for the city, CA is the state, and that's just put in 90210. So now we've got two entries in here. If I tab over that, that locks it in but I don't need to fill in it any further text. All I need to do now to save this list is to click OK. As I do I'm going to need to come up with a name for this and you can see by default up here in my address line, that in in my documents folder here is a folder called my data sources.
This is the default setup by Word and this is where we're going to save our list. But we need to give it a name down here in the filename field, the cursor's flashing away. So let's give it a name. We'll call it the lesson 13 list, then we'll put in spaces in there and this is going to be a Microsoft Office list, so it's actually going to be a Microsoft database. So we could put in the .MDB if we wanted to, but file type is set here as Microsoft Office Address List so we don't need to.
All we need to do is click the Save button here. OK, so here we've got in our data sources, you can see their names. You can see this check box is here because currently, remember we're still using the wizard, we need to choose who is going to receive this letter. So they all have check marks, they're all part of the same data source and if I wanted to remove someone from my list, not actually remove them, but not include them in this mail merge, I simply click in the check box of the person I don't want to include.
And then to bring them back we just click in the checkbox again. OK. So there's our list, we want to send this letter to everyone on the list so we want to make sure that everyone's got a check mark before we click OK. Alright so at this point, if we hadn't started our letter already, we could right now, but we have most of what we want. We just need to add a little bit of text here and there, shall we say, placeholders for the information in our recipient list. So we'll do that next. So when we click here to write your letter, you can see our letter showing up on the screen and we've got some links over here for adding some of those placeholders I was talking about.
So I know right here is where I want names and addresses and so on to go. So I'll take that out, because that's just text and I'll hit Delete after selecting it. That's where I want the address block to go. So all I do is leave my cursor flashing here, come over to my Mail Merge Wizard pane and click Address Block. And I have some options here. I can insert the recipient's name in the format that I choose from this list down below and you can see a preview of what that's going to look like. So here's my second contact, actually Diane Mander, there's the street and the address line.
Looks perfect. I don't need the company name, if I had one, it would go in there, and it is the postal address that's going in. If I wanted to too, I could narrow it down. You can see only include the country/ region if it's different than the United States. So I'm not getting United States here, but if it was Canada, for example, then that might show up with this selected. Also this in a neat feature down here. In Canada, we wouldn't put the city, the province and the postal code all on the same line. So you would actually format the address for us according to our destination and it would put our postal code down below, if we had a Canadian address in here. Kind of the neat.
Everything looks good. You can see we've got different samples here of how we can show the person's name. I'm in the just go up here to no middle initials, so the second one here, Joshua Randall Jr.'s the way we'll have our name show up. So click OK. We've now got our address block in there. All right. Now we need to add a salutation type line. So here where it says "Dear first name", I'll just highlight that, I'll click in the left-hand margin to select it and hit my Delete key. So I'm just going to move one line of above the first paragraph, so there's a space, and now I need to put in my gretting line.
So I come over here and I clicked Greeting and the greeting line format is set by default to be Dear. And then you can see Mr. Randall is the sample and then in a comma after that. Dear, if I click the drop-down, could be To or just nothing at all. So leave it at Dear. Then my name type, you can see Mr. and Mrs., Mr., we've got the first and a last name. We could leave out the Mr. or the salutation part. I'm in a put in this choice here, this sample, Joshua Randall Jr., and a comma after it is good.
And we have some other options like the colon or nothing at all. So we'll leave the comma in there. Greeting line for invalid recipient name, so if we come across someone who's missing a first name and a last name in that list, it will just put in Dear Sir or Madam. We can move through our samples, if we want to see a sample of our actual contacts, this is our second one here, clicking the arrow to the left will move us to our previous one, which is Karen Corey. This all looks good so all we need to do now is click OK. And there's our block right there that's going to slip in our greeting line. So far, so good.
And there's really only one more to go, down below in the second paragraph where it says, "So 'first name" as a valued customer, we invite you, blah, blah, blah.." Well we'll take out first name. We don't need that, but we will leave the comma. I'll hit the Delete key, leave a space after the word "so" and that's where I want the person 's first name to go. So I only see an address block, a greeting line or electronic postage here. How do I select just the person's first name? I go to More Items and over here is where I see a full list of all of those columns I saw when I was filling in my contact information.
And I'm going to choose first name, and then click Insert and you can see it's going to be "So first name, as about a customer..." Perfect. I can click Close, right here, and I think we're ready to move onto the preview step and then we're almost done. So right down below here in our wizard, you can see the next step is to preview our letters. That'll be step five of six. Notice that the Preview Results button is selected right now. So what we're seeing is not necessarily the final product, this is just a preview and you can see it's previewing my first contact, so Karen Corey.
There's the address here, "Dear Karen Corey, you're cordially invited..." and down below it says "So Karen,". Perfect. This looks good. I can move through the recipients using these buttons here to see what my other recipients look like. That looks good as well. Everything looks good and we are ready to complete the merge. So when we click Next, Complete the merge, you can see that our merge is now complete and if we wanted to, we could personalize these letters individually. You see we have a link here to edit individual letters.
Now I wouldn't necessarily want to use this especially with a great big long list of people, but if you needed to, you could click to edit individual letters. You can see the Merge Records are selected at All, but if you want it to choose specific records you could. And then you go in to make changes to the letter itself, but hopefully you'll get everything you need from the merge. OK, and at some point you will probably then want to print this, so you could put them in envelopes and send them off. This is not a document that you would probably want to save.
We have our main document, our letter, we have it now filled up with those placeholders and we have our recipient list. So if we needed to get these letters up on our screen again, we just do the merge again really. So you wouldn't want to save this document. Imagine if you have a recipient list of a thousand people. That's a fairly large document, and again, you're probably only going to want to merge it to do something like print it out or if you're doing an e-mail message you could do it that way too. All right. So what we're going to do actually is just close this up, the mail merge.
There's our finished document we printed off and then we would probably just close it up without saving like I said. So let's go up to the Office button, come down here, click Close and we will not save this document. If we want it back, we simply run the merge again. So in this example we created our data source, that recipient list, on the fly. Next we're going to look at creating an data source ahead of time so it can be used in a mail merge down the road.
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