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In Word 2010: 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.
The final type of mail merge in Word is a directory merge, which in prior versions of Word was called a Catalog Merge. You can use the Directory Merge feature to create a directory of names and addresses, but you can also use it to create a parts catalog or an inventory sheet - anything where you want to take information out of a data source and put it in Microsoft Word. You might take a look at using directory merges whenever you have information that comes out of a database where you're not happy with how the reports look, because by using a catalog or a directory merge, and getting that stuff into Word, you have access to all of Word's formatting tools. So, let's start.
In our blank document, we'll go to the Mailings tab, and say Start Mail Merge > Directory. Now we need to select the data source. So, we'll go to Select Recipients > Use Existing List, and we're going to go to the Exercises folder, for Chapter 2, and go ahead and select this Prospects list that we've been working with previously. This is a workbook that has only one worksheet in it, called Email Prospects, and I'm going to say OK. A quick review of what's in Email Prospects. We just have some basic demographic information.
We have contact, a company name, and so on. What I want to do is create a listing that actually gives me information about three different things: the full name of the contact person, the company name, and the state that the company's office is located in. There are a couple of different ways I could do this. I could set this up and say, all right, I'd like to have the Contact Name, and Insert a Merge Field, First_Name, space, Insert a Merge Field, Last_Name. Company Name, Insert the Merge Field for Company_Name, and then State, and Insert the Merge Field for State. Press Enter.
When I preview my results, this is what it looks like. If I go to Finish & Merge > Edit Individual Documents, it will merge all of these, all records, OK, and notice that I have one item after another, listed down the page. Now I can format my primary document. Let's go ahead and close this, and throw it away. I could add, for example, another line feed here, or I could select and format this information to move it closer together, with no spacing.
However, what I'd like to do is present this information in a table. That's going to be far more useful to me. So, I'm going to delete my field codes and insert a table and return to the Mailings tab and insert my merge fields, First Name, space, Last Name. I'm going to turn preview off, so I can actually see the field codes. Then in my second cell of my table, Company Name, and in the third cell of my table, I'm going to put the State name. I'll give Company Name a little more space. Looks good! Let's go ahead and Finish & Merge to individual documents, so we can go see the results of the merge.
Choose All records, click OK, and here's my table, the results of my database dumped here, so that I can format it in a way that I want to work with it. Now, a couple of thoughts. I'd like to have some column headings. That gets a little bit tricky, because in a directory merge, anything I put in the body of the document shows up here. Let's go ahead and close this Merge Results document. We don't need it. Discard it to return to our primary document. Let me show you what I mean. If I insert a new row above, and I simply put Name, Company, and State here, and then we Finish & Merge again, OK, notice that I have Name, Company, State; Name, Company, State; Name, Company, State.
Anything in the body of the documents repeats. Let's throw the results of this Merge away, not save them. What I'd like to do then is I'd like to take these headings and put them somewhere where they won't repeat. Because anything in the body of the document repeats, what I need to do is move them, so that I have them sitting up in my header or down in my footer. Those are the parts of the document that aren't part of the body. So, I'm going to go ahead and delete this row, and we're going to insert a header in this document that's simply a blank header.
Now I'll go to the Insert tab, drop in a three-column table, just like the one I have, adjust it so it matches up with the table below, and let's go ahead and put then Contact Name, Company Name, and State. I can do any other formatting I wish. That all works. Let's go back to the Mailings tab now and double-click in the body of our document to close the header. I could have closed the header on the Insert tab as well. Choose Finish & Merge > Edit Individual Documents, click OK, and here's my header that doesn't repeat and my directory that does repeat.
There isn't a week that goes by that I don't find a use for directory merge. It's rarely used - it's not the first thing folks think of - but it's an incredibly useful tool in Word 2010. So, as you work with data sources, don't forget that there's a great way to create whatever types of listings you want for data in your data sources using Word 2010's Directory Merge feature.
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