Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a directory, part of Word 2013: Mail Merge in Depth.
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- The final type of specialized mail merge in word is called a directory merge and in some older versions of Word it was called a catalog merge. You use the directory merge feature to create a directory of names and addresses, or to create a catalog, or to create anything where you're taking information out of a data source and you're putting it into Word that we haven't handled so far. So we're basically making tables, but if you imagine that you have a report that you get data from a data base, perhaps it's from Excel or Access and you're struggling with how to format it.
If you use this kind of a technique, a directory merge, to pull that data into Microsoft Word, you have access to all of Microsoft Word's formidable formatting tools. So I wouldn't struggle with a report in Access if I can bring that data in here and format it into Microsoft Word. Let's see how we'll do this. I'm going to start on the mailings tab, this is pretty predicable, and I'm choosing start mail merge, and we're going to choose directory.
Boy that was like nothing so far, right? So let's go to select recipients and use an existing list, and I'm going to use my data source that includes people who are interested in catalogs. So that's catalog request CSV and I will open that up. As a reminder of what this data is, each one of these folks is given an ID number, we have their first name, their last name, their phone, the date they made the request, the street address, the city, state and zip code.
I want to create a report that has less than this information in it. I'd like to create a report that actually has first names, last names, the request date, and the city and state, and I'd like the request date to be listed first. So I'm going to throw the request date in there and I'm then going to pitch in the first name, the last name, and the city and the state.
Now as we look, that doesn't really look very much like a report, it's like wow. Do I really want that? What I want is I want a table. So let's create a table. I'm just going to pitch what I have so far, and I'm going to insert a table and I want to insert one column for each of the fields I want. So there's my date, my first name, my last name, my city, and my state.
That should do it. Now I'm going to tab down to the next column here. We're going to go insert or merge fields. Remember the request date goes here, first name goes here, last name goes here, and then let's have the city and the state.
That looks better. Now let's do a finish and merge and send this to individual documents all records so that we can see what that's going to look like when we're done. Notice that my empty row shows up over and over again because everything that's in the body is gonna repeat and that's an important clue. I'm going to go ahead and close this. Just throw this away, that was my results. Here's the trick, I'd really like to be able to put date, and given name and family name, city and state here, but notice when I do that it's very predictable, even if I go in and I'll actually bold this too so it'll look good.
When I finish and merge, yeah, not what we want. So the clue is in the fact that I talk about the body of the document. There's actually a way that we can do this. It's a little weird, but let me show you what we're going to do. What I want to do is take that first row of the table and actually cut it, and it can't appear in the body, so where can it appear? Well, it can appear in the header, right here.
That's really the only place that it can appear that it will do what I need it to do. Let's close this, now let's go back to our mailings tab, finish and merge again, edit individual documents. Notice that I can do some things with the spacing if I wish in my header and tighten that up, but this actually looks pretty good because it gives me a group of column names across the top in my header and it will appear at the top of each page followed by my data.
So a key concept about directory merge is everything in the body repeats. If I've laid out my data in a single row and a table, then I've basically created a repeating table. Anything I want to appear only once per page I'm gonna stuff in the header or the footer and I can create some really good looking reports and documents, directories and catalogs. Whatever it is I wish. This is one of the most useful ways that I use mail merge because often I'll have data that I want to work with in Microsoft Word or or present in Microsoft Word because it just looks better here and I can do so many wonderful things with it.
I can format this data anyway I'd like. I can format by row or I can select and format by column. I have the ability to change it's spacing, and of course I can sort and filter here just as I can in Word. Directory merge is a great tool to keep in your toolkit as you are working with data sources in Microsoft Word.
- Choosing or creating a data source
- Using Mail Merge with Outlook contacts
- Mail merging data from an Excel spreadsheet
- Inserting address blocks, greetings, and other fields
- Matching fields from a data source
- Using the Merge Tool add-in to add attachments to merged messages
- Previewing merge results
- Sending merged email
- Creating labels with images
- Using rules for customized merges