Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a new data source from scratch, part of Word 2007: Mail Merge in Depth.
If the variable data you need to use for a mail merge doesn't already exist in any electronic format, you can create a new data source for mail merge right from Word 2007. We begin with our primary merge document open and then to create a new data source on the Mailings tab in the Start Mail Merge group, click the Select Recipients drop-down and indicate that you would like to type a new list. You will notice that this New Address List box opens so that you can enter new information.
So we are going to type the first name and the last name, company name and address information, city and state, and then we could add more information and tab all the way across, but if this is all the information I have to enter, I can simply choose New Entry. I don't have to tab through all of those fields.
So I can quickly provide information for a new address for each person. I can also customize the columns and add or remove columns. So if I am never going to use for this particular data source, the Country or Region, because they all in the United States, I can delete Country or Region. It says any information contained in this field will be deleted as well. Don't let that bother you. There is no information. It's a standard message. I can say I don't need that field, I don't need a Home Phone field, but I would like to add another field and the field that I would like to add for example for this particular list of vendors is I would like to add the application date when they actually apply to become a vendor.
So I can have a new field that I can then move up to the beginning of the list by clicking the Move Up button, choose OK, and now you will notice that I have the field that I need to add that's my own custom data field. When I am done entering and editing the information that I would like to provide here for this particular address list, I can say OK and I will be prompted to save it. You will notice that the type I am saving it as is Microsoft Office Address List, which is actually a small Access database.
Unless you need to share this file with anyone else, I would encourage you to leave it right where Microsoft Word wants to put it in the My Data Sources folder under My Documents and the reason that that's a great place to keep it is this is one of the places that Microsoft Word looks for data sources when you choose recipients for a mail merge. This is the beginning of a list of vendors, so I am simply going to name this new data source Vendors. So we will just click Save to save that data source.
If again I want to use an existing list, you will notice there is our vendors list right here at the top of the list, because Microsoft Word is looking in that Data Sources folder where it put the merged data source that we just created. If you already have a data source in Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Access, or any place else that you can use or expand on, then don't create a new data source because it makes you responsible for the data. But if you need to create a data source, it is quick and easy to set up a reliable data source that you can customize in Word 2007.
After that, it's just a matter of typing.
- Choosing or creating a data source
- Using Mail Merge with Outlook contacts
- Merging data from an Excel spreadsheet
- Inserting address blocks and greetings
- Matching fields from a data source
- Previewing merge results
- Using rules for customized merges