Data sources you can use for a mail merge

Word can pull data from a variety of data sources to perform a mail merge. As part of the Microsoft Office suite, Word easily accepts data from Outlook, Excel, and Access, and other data sources such as web pages, OpenDocument text files, and delimited data files stored as plain text. And if you don't have an existing data source, you can create a new one in Word.

Important: Accessing any of the named data sources from an HTTP location isn't supported. Save the file to your local hard drive before you use it as a mail merge data source.

Data sources for mail merge

Here are a few examples of data sources you can use for a mail merge in Word.

  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

    An Excel spreadsheet works well as a data source for mail merge if all data is well-formatted and on one sheet so that it can be read by Word. For more information, see Format-your-mail-merge-contacts-in-an-Excel-2016-for-Windows-spreadsheet.

  • Microsoft Outlook Contact List

    You can retrieve contact information directly from your Outlook Contact List in Word. For more information, see Use Outlook contacts as a data source for a mail merge.

  • Microsoft Office Address List

    You can create a simple Office Address List during a mail merge, and then use it again later. This is the best solution when you want to create a short, simple list for infrequent use.

  • Word data file

    You can use a Word document as a data source. The document should contain a single table. The first row of the table must contain headings, and the other rows must contain the records you want to merge. For more information, see Set up a mail merge list with Word.

  • Microsoft Access database

    With Access, you can select data from any table or query defined in the database. For more information, see Use mail merge to send Access data to Word.

  • Text files

    You can use any text file that has data fields separated (or delimited) by tab characters or commas, and data records separated by paragraph marks.

Other database files

You can use other data sources for a mail merge. To access these sources, you need to start the Data Connection Wizard.

  1. In Word, on the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, choose Select Recipients > Use an Existing List.

    data source mail merge

  2. In the Select Data Source dialog box, choose New Source to open the Data Connection Wizard.

    Data Connection Wizard
  3. In the Data Connection Wizard, choose the type of data source you want to use for the mail merge, and then choose Next.

  4. Follow the prompts in the Data Connection Wizard to complete the data connection to the merge document.

Once you have your data source you can create labels, envelopes, letters and email using mail merge

See also

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