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In mail merge, we take a primary document, for example, a letter like this one, then insert structured data, a table or list from a database, an Excel spreadsheet, or Outlook contacts, to create multiple personalized letters, such as individually addressed documents. In Word, mail merge requires two files. The first file is a Word document that contains the information that will be the same in every letter, and the instructions on where to place the variable data. The second file is a data source, which could be, again, an Excel worksheet, a database, an Outlook address book, or a table that was created in another Word document.
We'll use the commands on the Mailings tab of the Ribbon to merge these two files together to create the personalized documents. Mail merge isn't just for letters; we can also merge labels, including mailing labels and name tags. By combining Word with Outlook, we can also use mail merge to create customized e-mail messages. Each recipient receives a personalized message that's sent only to them. We can use a type of mail merge called the Directory Merge to create a list, directory or catalog from a database.
Then we can format that document using the powerful formatting features in Word 2010. Whenever you find yourself creating multiple documents from a set of data, there's almost always an opportunity to save time by using Word mail merge.
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