Data sources you can use for a mail merge

Recipients of a mail merge usually come from a list of names and data in an existing list, like an Excel spreadsheet, or your Outlook contacts list. The existing list could also be any database that you can connect to. If you don't already have a list, you can type one up in Word as part of the mail merge process.

The list or database is known as the data source for your mail merge.

Choose which type of list you're going to use as your data source:

New list

If you don't have a data source yet, choose Type a New List, and then use the form that opens to create your list. The list is saved as a database (.mdb) file that you can reuse.

For details about creating a new list, see Set up a new mail merge list with Word.

Existing list

An existing list might be an Excel spreadsheet, Access database, or some other type of database. To use it as your data source, choose Use an Existing List.

Important: No matter what type of file you use as a data source, be sure to save it on your local computer or a file share; saving at an HTTP location isn't supported for mail merge.

  • 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 Prepare your Excel data source for a Word mail merge.

  • 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.

  • Other database files    To access other kinds of data sources, you'll run the Data Connection Wizard:

  1. Go to Mailings > Select Recipients > Use an Existing List, then choose New Source to open the Data Connection Wizard.

    data source mail merge

  2. Choose the type of data source you want to use for the mail merge, and then select Next.

    Data Connection Wizard

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

Outlook contact list

You can retrieve contact information directly from your Outlook contact list in Word. To use this as your data source, choose Choose from Outlook Contacts. For more information, see Use Outlook contacts as a data source for a mail merge.

New list

If you don't have a data source yet, choose Create a New List, and then use the dialogs that open to create your list. The list is saved as a document file that you can reuse.

For details about creating a new list, see Set up a new mail merge list with Word.

Existing data sources

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

  • Excel spreadsheet

    An Excel spreadsheet works well as a data source for mail merge. Data should be on one sheet and well formatted so that it can be read well with Word. For more information, see Prepare your Excel data source for mail merge.

  • Outlook Contact List

    You can retrieve contact information directly from your Outlook Contact List on to Word. See Export Outlook items.

  • Apple Contacts List

    You can export Apple contacts into an Excel spreadsheet and use it as your mailing list for mail merge.

  • 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.

 

 

• Create a new list

In the Edit List Fields dialog box, Word automatically creates fields for some basic information, such as first name, last name, and address. If you want to add a new field—for example, a message field—add it now, so you can fill in the field when you type the entry.

  1. Under New field name, type the name of the field you want to add and then click + (plus sign).

    Tip: To change the order of the fields, choose the field you want to move, and then use the up or down arrows to move the field.

  2. When all fields are set up as you want, choose Create to make a new list.

 

 

• Use an Existing List

  1. Browse to the file you want to use and choose Open.

  2. In the Open Workbook dialog box, select the sheet you want to use, and then do one of the following:

    • Leave Cell Range blank to use the entire worksheet.

      or

    • Enter a cell range for the data you want to use.

  3. Choose OK.

 

 

• Choose from Outlook Contacts

  1. Choose Filter Recipients to select the recipients you want to include.

  2. In the Query Options dialog box, next to List mail merge recipients by, choose Complete record.

  3. In the list of contacts, select the contacts you want to include in the mail merge, and then choose OK.

 

 

• Apple Contacts

  1. Choose Filter Recipients to select the recipients you want to include.

  2. In the Query Options dialog box, under Apple Group Contacts, choose the group you want to include in the mail merge, and then choose OK.

 

 

• File Maker Pro

  1. Browse to the file you want to use and choose Open.

  2. In the Header Record Delimiters dialog box, choose a field delimiter to separate each data field and a record delimiter to separate each data record, and then choose OK.

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

  • Excel spreadsheet

    An Excel spreadsheet works well as a data source for mail merge if all data is on one sheet and the data is formatted well, so that it can be read well with Word. For more information, see Prepare your Excel data source for mail merge

  • Outlook Contact List

    You can retrieve contact information directly from your Outlook Contact List on to Word, See Export Outlook items .

  • Apple Contacts List

    You can export Apple contacts into an Excel spreadsheet and use it as your mailing list for mail merge.

  • 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.

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