To know how to make use of mail merge we must first know what mail merge really is. Mail merge is a feature of Ms Word which saves our valuable time. It comes to our rescue when there is a need to make or send large number of labels, mails or invites, letters, and envelopes.It becomes a very monotonous job when one has to change various details of the recipients (like for example their names or pin codes or addresses) one by one manually. So in such a scenario Mail Merge feature comes to our rescue. The mail merge feature helps us create numerous documents in a single go.
Documents created using Mail Merge will have same structure with certain personalized sections. For using this feature, three steps are involved. These are:
- Writing of the Main/Key Document
- Creating a Data Source
- Merging both the Document and Data Source
Let’s discuss each step in detail.
Mail Merge in Ms Word with Data Source in MS Excel
The first and foremost step is the preparation of things needed for mail merge. Firstly, we would need to frame our basic text. Secondly, we need to jot down a list of all recipients in MS Excel in the form of a spreadsheet.
Let us have a look at how to do this in simple steps.
Here we are taking an example of prize distribution at a particular function where students of various schools have participated.
Step 1: Main Document Writing
Here we will write the basic framework of the text to be mail merged. Just have a look at the sample.
Step 2: Creating Ms Excel Data Source
Now, go to MS Excel and enter the details of all the recipients and save this file.
Note: How specific the column labels are.
Now our final step is to merge the above created documents. Check for any errors and if everything is fine take a printout of individual letters separately. So here is the final step.
Step 3: Merging the Documents
In MS Word follow the following steps.
- If your text layout is already prepared then open it, or else make a new one.
- Go to the Mailings Tab -> Start Mail Merge. The following will be displayed:
Now select the type of merge (say letters, labels, e-mails etc) you want to do.
- The next step is to pick the list of Recipients. For this choose Select Recipients. If you have already created a file, then go for Use an Existing List Browse the files and choose the excel sheet you had created earlier.
- If you do not have one, then make a new one by choosing Type New List
- Once you click on open, you will be prompted to select the name of the sheet from the spreadsheet in which you have entered all your recipient data.
Select the sheet and click OK.
- Now the mail merge process finally starts. If you want to send your text to all recipients on the created list, then go ahead with the next step. But still if you want to send it to some selected contacts then go to Editing Recipient List section.
- You can even change the way of addressing with the help of address block. You also have a greeting line added in your mail or letter.
- If you are done with all the settings, then we will now insert the stored data from the spreadsheet.
- To do so first go to the desired location where personalized text is to be placed.
- Now, go for Insert Merge Fields and select the column/header names defined in Excel.
- As soon as you select the column, it will be displayed in your key document in between << >> tags. Do so for all the fields.
- Save your merged file. Now it is the time to preview the final document and finally printing.
Previewing and Printing the final document
Previewing results is an essential step before printing of the merged document. Any errors or mismatched fields can be tracked during preview.
To preview the merged file go to the Mailings tab -> Preview Results option.
You can view various records with the first, previous, next and last buttons.
Once you have seen all the records and there is no error, choose the Finish & Merge option.
You can choose the Edit Individual Documents… option if you still wish to edit the merged documents. Or else you can print the merged documents or even send them via mail as per your requirement. A shortcut to print the merged document is Alt + Shift + m. This will directly display the print options.
Editing the List of Recipients
You can even limit the number of recipients too. If you want to eliminate some of your recipients from receiving the text, you can edit your list of recipients in Ms Word. To do so, follow the following steps:
Select the Start Mail Merge group -> Edit Recipient List option.
On clicking this, the following will be displayed.
Here you can uncheck those recipients to whom you do not wish to send the text to. Only the checked recipient data will be merged. Hence names of these will only come in the final merged document.
Inserting Address Block
To insert an address block in your document go to Mailings tab -> Write & Insert Fields group -> click Address Block.
It will display the following:
Here, various format options will be displayed to you to choose from. Choose the desired format. Then click OK and finally save your changes.
Inserting a Greeting Line
When writing letters, sometimes we need to include greeting lines. You can furnish this with the help of Greeting Line option.
For adding a Greeting Line go to Mailings tab -> Write & Insert Fields group -> click Greeting Line.
On clicking it, this will open the following:
Here, you can select the required salutation, followed by the format in which recipient name should come, followed by punctuation mark (a comma by default) if any. After selecting the required format click on OK button.
On previewing, the greeting line will appear in the document. Then save your changes.
A few Points to be taken care of:
- Column Names in Ms Excel should be precise so that we do not have any confusion when merging them.
- Before finalizing your document make sure to go through all the mail merged fields once to make sure everything is correct.
Hopefully, this article helps you to brush up your concepts of mail merge and let you understand it in a better manner. Hope you will now be able to carry out mail merge properly and with no difficulty.