Mail merge

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To show how mail merge works, let's start with an email message. You start with a main document, attach a list of recipient information, and add mail merge fields. Then Word automatically fills in the fields with recipient information and generates all the individual documents.

Insert mail merge fields

  • Word includes the Greeting Line and Address Block fields, which add all the fields for a greeting or address, so you don’t have to add each field one at a time.

For example, to add a standard greeting to your email message or letter, use the Greeting Line merge field.

  1. Click where you want to add the greeting.

  2. Click Greeting Line.

  3. Choose the name style that you want to use, and set other options.

  4. To make sure the field is formatted the way you want, highlight the whole field, including the marks at each end.

  5. Click HOME, and then check the font and font size.

  6. Click Line Spacing to make sure the line spacing matches the spacing in the rest of your document.

After you add the fields you want to merge, type the information you want to be the same in each email message you send during the merge.

Add individual fields

If you want to add a customized greeting or other information from your mailing list, you can add fields one a time.

  1. Click in your document where you want to add the mail merge field.

  2. Click the arrow next to Insert Merge Field, and then click the field name.

  3. If you don’t see your field name in the list, click the Insert Merge Field button.

  4. Click Database Fields to see the list of fields that are in your data source.

  5. Click the field you want to add.

  6. Click Insert.

Want more?

Mail merge using an Excel spreadsheet

Insert mail merge fields

Create and print mailing labels for an address list in Excel

Use Word mail merge for email

Mail merge is all about mass mailings that you individualize for each recipient.

You can add individual elements to any part of a label, letter, envelope, or email, from the greeting to the entire document, even images.

You start with a main document, attach a list of recipient information, and add mail merge fields.

Then Word automatically fills in the fields with recipient information and generates all the individual documents.

In this course, we’ll start with email, then move on to letters and envelopes.

Here’s a quick way to get started.

On the MAILINGS tab, click Start Mail Merge and Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard.

Select the type of document you want to add mail merge to, and click Next.

Here you can start a new document from a template or existing document.

Since our document is already open, we’ll select Use the current document.

A recipient list can come from one of three places: an existing list, such as a mailing list you created in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook contacts, or you can type a new list.

Let’s say we want to send the email to customers in our Outlook contacts.

When you select this option, you also need to choose which contacts folder to use.

Choose an Outlook profile if you get a prompt.

I’ve already created a folder in Outlook to hold my customer contacts.

So, we’ll select that one and click OK.

And Word adds the contacts to a recipient list.

If you want, you can check through the list and edit it before you run the mail merge.

For example, if you have a large list, you may want to send email in chunks.

You can click the arrow next to Last and sort the list in ascending order.

Uncheck the box at the top to uncheck all the contacts.

Then, start by sending email only to contacts with last names that begin with B, C and D. When you’re done, click OK.

Next, we’ll add the mail merge fields to the email message. Let’s keep it simple and just add a greeting line field.

Delete the one we have there now and click Greeting line.

First, select a format. We’ll keep Dear.

But let’s change the name format to something less formal.

And we’ll keep the comma.

If there’s a problem with a recipient name, Word inserts this generic greeting.

Let’s change it to Dear Customer with a comma.

Down here, you can click through the contacts to preview the greeting line for each one.

When you’re done, click OK.

And Word inserts the merge field.

Click Next, and Word temporarily replaces the merge fields with entries from the recipient list so you can preview how each email will look before it’s sent.

This is particularly useful if your email contains a lot of merge fields.

If everything looks okay, click Next to complete the merge.

Click Electronic Mail, add a Subject line for the emails, and click OK, when you’re ready to send them.

So the wizard can help you get up to speed with mail merge. But once you know the process, you can often go faster by entering options directly.

Up next, we’ll do that when we print letters with mail merge.

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