Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding Mail Merge, part of Mail Merge in Depth with Word 2016.
- View Offline
- [Voiceover] Here's how Mail Merge works. We start with a primary document that we create in Microsoft Word. For example, we could use this letter. Then we insert structure data that was created elsewhere. It might be a table from a database, an Excel spreadsheet, a CSV file, or contacts from Outlook. We use that data source, along with this primary document, to create multiple personalized letters, each one individually addressed. In Word, Mail Merge always requires two separate files.
The first file is that Word document that contains information that will be the same in every single letter, as well as instructions on where to place the variable data, the data that is different in each letter and comes to us from a data source. The second file is going to be that data source, in this case a table from Excel. Now, it could also be Outlook contacts, or it could be data from Access, or from any data source that you can connect to from Access or Excel. We'll use the commands in the Mail Merge feature in Word to merge these two files together, and when we do, we'll get a separate letter for each recipient in our Excel table, one for Michelle, one for Nehru, one for Pearl, one for Raphael, and one for Shelley.
By combining Word with a data source, we can also use Mail Merge to create customized email messages that we send from Outlook, where each recipient receives a customized email sent only to them, rather than us sending something to an entire group using BCC, or using CC. Then we can also use a third type of Mail Merge called a Directory Merge, to create a list or directory. For example, we could create a phone list using these same contacts from Excel. Rather than having five different letters, we would have one directory.
There are other things we can also do with Mail Merge. We begin with a data source that's somewhere else. Perhaps it's in Access where it's difficult to format our data. But by bringing that into Word through Mail Merge, we get access to all the powerful formatting features that are available in Microsoft Word. Whenever you find yourself creating multiple documents, whether it be letters or email messages, or a directory, using the same set of data, or creating a document and then typing over names and addresses, or typing names and addresses into a blank template, whether you're doing this in Word, or you're doing it in Outlook, there's almost always an opportunity for you to save time by using Word Mail Merge.
- Choosing a data source
- Creating a new 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
- Formatting numeric data and dates
- Creating personalized email messages
- Attaching Word documents to merged emails
- Creating envelopes, labels, and directories
- Using rules for customized merges: FILLIN, ASK, and IF…THEN…ELSE