Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Including repeated merge-specific information, part of Creating a Mail Merge in Word 2010.
When you want to include some variable information on a per-merge basis, and you're only including that information once, things are relatively straightforward. We can go to the Mailings tab and then on the ribbon, we can choose Rules and then Fill In. And at the current insertion point, so wherever I have the flashing cursor, we can then fill in specific information based on a prompt. But sometimes you may want to insert that exact same information more than once. Let's take a look at a real-world example so that we can get a better sense of what we're talking about here.
I have a letter here that I would like to send to a series of job applicants, and so, of course, each individual letter will be addressed to an individual job applicant. I've even included the position name that they have applied for as one of the merge field variables. But I also want to indicate the date of the next company orientation meeting, and I want to include that twice. So using the fill-in option I can only insert it once so I would need two fill-in options, and in fact I would then need to type the date twice when I create my mail merge. I'd rather not do that, and so instead, I'm going to use the ask option which allows me to add variable information at the time of a mail merge but repeat that information multiple times through the use of bookmarks. Let's go ahead and start off by adding the prompt so that I can actually enter that information at the time of the mail merge.
For this, it doesn't actually matter where I insert, in the document, that particular rule. It's just sort of in the background of the document. It's not going to print anything. So in this case, I have my flashing insertion point right before the date. I'll go to the rules option on the mailings tab of the ribbon. And from the pop up that appears, I'm going to choose Ask. That will bring up a dialog, where I can specify a bookmark name. I'll go ahead and type company orientation.
And the prompt will be to ask for the date of the next company orientation. And then I can also specify default text. In other words, if for some reason I don't enter anything, which means in the event that I don't type anything, what will be added. Well, in this case, of course, I don't want to put a default date that's an actual date, because that would probably be out of date, pun intended, so instead I'm just going to insert a series of number symbols here so that it will hopefully catch my eye if I make such a mistake.
I also only want this information to be asked of me once, because I want to use the exact same date for every recipient of this letter, in this case. So, I'll turn on the ask once check box, and then click the OK button. And you'll notice that I receive essentially a confirmation of what I've just done. I'll see a preview in effect. There's the question. Date of next company orientation meeting, and I can type a date if I'd like to. I'll leave it as it is for the moment and simply click OK. And effectively, nothing actually happened because, once again, this is doing things behind the scenes.
I will be prompted for some information. That information will be available within the document. But then I actually have to do something with it. Specifically, I have to do something with it twice because I want to insert that date in two different locations within my document. So I'll go ahead and select the text that I want to replace with that variable information. I'll just remove that text so that I have essentially an empty space for the reference to the bookmark that I've just created. And to add that reference, I'll go the Insert tab and then I'm going to click on Quick Parts. And I'll choose Field from the pop up menu.
I'll then scroll down. And I'm looking for ref, for reference, meaning that I want to reference a specific bookmark. And that bookmark, is the one I created with the add option. In this case, company orientation. So I'll choose that company orientation option and then I'll click OK. You'll notice by the way that now we have a series of number symbols. That's the default value for the add field that I've created. And I'm going to do the exact same thing for the other date of orientation insertion.
So I'll remove that existing text and then on the Insert tab for the ribbon, I'll go to Quick Parts > Field and then I'll scroll down once again and find ref, and then I'll choose the company orientation bookmark and click OK. And once again we can see that series of numbers symbols. And it appears twice in the same document. So I'm using the add feature to essentially capture that variable and then I'm using the reference to the bookmark to place that variable information in multiple places in the document.
So let's take a look at it in action. I'll go to the Mailings tab, and then I'll click Finish and Merge, and I'll choose to Edit Individual Documents. I'll click OK to accept that all records will be added into the final result, and here we have the question that I was expecting. So I'll specify a date, I'll go ahead and click OK, and that date is inserted twice into this letter. So for John Reed, he's receiving a letter. And twice within that letter, it indicates the orientation date, but if I go to the next page of the document, we'll see that we have a letter for the second recipient, and the third recipient, and so on.
And so each of these letters is customized for a specific recipient. But in each case, I've added variable information that's repeated throughout the document. So in situations where you want to add variable information on a per mail merge basis but you want to repeat it throughout the document, perhaps twice or even more, you can use the add option to create that bookmark. And then use the reference in order to present that bookmark in various places.
- Preparing data for mail merge
- Using Outlook contacts
- Creating mail merge documents
- Using a document template
- Previewing your mail merge
- Merging your form and data
- Creating mailing labels
- Working with missing data
- Using conditional information