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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.
After you identify a data source for use in a mail merge, Word loads the columns or field names used in your data source. If your data source uses field or column names like first name, last name, street address, city, state and so on, then Word immediately knows what to do with the data found in those fields. However, if your data source has customized field names like member first name, customer last name, member address or residents, you'll have to instruct Word on how the fields in your data source match up with the field names that Word is familiar with.
We see the file in front of us. We've already started this mail merge by identifying, this is the letter that we want to use as our primary file, and we've selected a recipient file, using an existing list. We can see that file by clicking on Edit Recipient List here in this Start Mail Merge group on the Mailings tab, and we see that we have information that has Last, First, Email, App Date and so on. To find out if Word understands the fields in the data source, however, we need to click the Match Fields command in the Write & Insert Fields group.
We notice for example that Word is looking for a field called First Name, and we had a field called First and it says that's probably close enough, and it's right And Last Name, it found a field called Last, so it knows to look for close matches. However, if you will notice that it did not find a match for company name. Now this data set includes the Name of Company. If we called it Company or Company Name, Word would have found it. However, the field Name of Company is too much of a stretch for Word, so let's go ahead and match these fields, saying where you see company, we use the column name Name of Company.
Let's go on now and choose for Address 1, business street, Bus Street, which is the business street address. At any point if you are uncertain what the data is, don't match it. Click OK, go back to edit Recipient List, and verify that that's the name of the column that you want to use, and then return back here to Match Fields. The city for our business is called Bus City or Business City. Business State. Postal code is a Business Zip.
And while we don't have any plans to use a business phone number in this mail merge, it's really smart to match up all of the data you have that matches. Let's imagine that three years from now we want to send a letter that says, "please verify your business address, and your business phone," and time after time the business phone is blank. It would take a lot for us to remember that we decided to save 10 seconds here and chose not to match this up. So let's go ahead and match all the data we have that can match up to the fields that Microsoft Word is looking for here.
We have a couple of fields that we're not using at all because they're really not used for any of the standard fields here in Microsoft Word. That doesn't mean we can't use them. It just means that they won't be used in the built-in blocks that Word includes. If we want to use this set of data again in a different letter, it's really helpful to save this map. So when we save our document by clicking this check box, we give Word permission to actually save this unique set of mapping that says if you use this particular dataset again, this named range inside of this vendor workbook, whether you use it with the vendor letter or not, Microsoft Word will keep this mapping and we'll be able to pull it up.
So, let's click OK. Remember that one of the choices would have been to keep a copy of the workbook someplace else and to rename the fields in a way that Microsoft Word would understand, but that's extra work and if we want to reuse this dataset in the future, then we'd have to keep the dataset updated on our own, [00:04:067.17] and besides, it's so easy for us to go in and take in the fields Word is looking for, match those up to the actual field names that we are using in our data source, using Microsoft Word's Match Fields feature.
We're all done with this, it's mapped and so the last thing we're going to do is we're going to re-save our vendor letter one more time, and we will do a Save As, and we will save this as a Merge Mapped vendor letter, so we can pick this up in the next step of our Microsoft Word mail merge.
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