Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction to mail merge, part of Word 2010: Creating a Mail Merge.
If you're anything like me, you don't like wasting time. Especially wasting time on mindless tasks. And the Mail Merge feature in Microsoft Word is a powerful feature that enables you to make quick work of what might otherwise be a very difficult task. Well, maybe not so much a difficult task, but one that none of us really is going to want to perform. Let's say, for example that you need to send a letter to a number of recipients. And of course, you want that letter to be tailored to each of those recipients. Here I have a letter that's addressed to John Smith for example, and if I go to the next page, we'll see that this letter is addressed to Jane Doe, and the next page is addressed to Walter Jones, and then we have Bob Roberts. And in this case only four pages, only four recipients, but each of them is going to receive a customized letter.
Well that is at the heart of a Mail Merge. But it's much better than just having four copies of a letter that are addressed to individual people. The real advantage is that, that mail merge can be performed so quickly and easily. Once you know how to put this powerful feature to use. You're really able to save a lot of time, and perhaps more importantly, create a much better impression with the people you communicate with. This particular document contains four letters addressed to four different people, but I didn't type these letters individually, I only typed one letter.
And I only addressed it once essentialy, and then I let Word update the details for all of the recipients. Let's take a look at what the original source letter actually looked like, I'll go ahead and minimize this document, and you can see that now, I just have a one-page letter. It contains all of the text we just saw, but in place of the name and address of the recipient, for example, we see a reference to an address block. Well that's a reference for Mail Merge. This is telling Word exactly what information I want placed in specific locations throughout the document, in this case a letter. It could also be mailing labels.
It could be an email, it could be just about anything you can create in Word. The magic is that I'm able to connect this document to a particular source of data. In this case, that source of data happens to be an Excel spreadsheet. So I'll switch to the spreadsheet here and we can see, here are all the names and addresses of all the people, that I want to send this letter to. And in the document I created, I just have a reference to those various fields, so that, when I actually merge the results, I end up with individual letters addressed to each of my recipients. And that's the magic of Mail Merge.
We can create a single document and then instantaneously generate multiple copies based on a particular contact list. The key, of course, is knowing how to configure that data in the first place and how to create the document. But once you have that knowledge, you're able to really save a huge amount of time and effort when you need to create documents that will be shared with multiple people in a customized way.
- 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