A mail merge in Word combines a prepared letter with a mailing list, so your bulk mail is personalized before it is sent out. For instance, you may be part of a company that has a list of clients and you would like to advise them about an upcoming sale. In this instance, your mailing list would be the list of client’s names and addresses and your prepared letter would be a letter informing your clients of the sale. Every letter created will be identical except for the variables (i.e., name, address, etc.).
There are three components to a mail merge and they are:
- Your main document
- Your mailing list
- Your merged document
You should prepare your document before you start your mail merge, so key in your letter and save it. Once your letter is ready, you can then tell Word the type of mail merge you would like to start.
You do this by clicking on the Mailings tab of your Ribbon and click Start Mail Merge | Letters.
You can now link your letter to your mailing list.
Your mailing list can be stored in myriad locations (i.e., an Excel worksheet, Access database, Outlook contacts directory, Office address list). It contains the variables that will be combined in your mail merge document.
If you do not already have a mailing list when you begin your mail merge, you can have Word 2016 create one during your mail merge. I recommend that you create your mailing list prior to starting your mail merge though.
Fr our purposes, we are going to use an Excel Worksheet that has the names and addresses of the clients you would like to send a letter to.
Follow the steps below to learn how:
On the Mailings tab of your Ribbon, click Select Recipients in the Start Mail Merge group. I will assume you have a mailing list ready to use but you can also create one on the fly.
So you know we have an Excel Worksheet so let’s navigate to where that is saved and select it.
Select the sheet that has the data you want to use and click OK.
If the first row in your worksheet is a header row, be certain that you check the box to say so.
Once you have established the link between your mailing list and your document, save the document.
Now you need to tell Word what personal details to add to your letter and where. To accomplish this task, you will insert merge fields in your main document. Four our purposes we will it keep it short and simple with basic information (i.e., client names and addresses).
Place your cursor where you would like the address to appear in your letter.
On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, select Address Block.
In the ensuing window that opens, you have the change to review and amend the format of the address that will be inserted when the merge is actually run.
Make any changes you require and click OK.
You will then see the <<AddressBlock>> placeholder appear where you inserted it.
Let’s add a greeting line shall we? Place your cursor where you would want your greeting .
In the Write & Insert Fields group, click Greeting Line. As above, you will have a chance to review and amend your greeting, so make any changes and click OK.
You will now see the <<GreetingLine>> placeholder where you inserted it.
The address and greeting are standards that most folks will want to use in their mail merges so they have their own special buttons on your Ribbon. But if you want to insert data that is not in the Write & Insert Fields group, you will need the Insert Merge Fields button.
Click Insert Merge Fields | email.
Word will get all the column headings in the worksheet and lists them for you to select from.
All your placeholders will now be populated with real data from your worksheet when the merge is run.
Your preparation is now complete. All you need to do now is preview what your merged letter will look like and then run it.
Click Preview Results and select Next record button or Previous to be certain the names and addresses in the body of your letter are correct.
Make any changes you like and when when you are finished, click Finish & Merge | Print documents to run the merge and print.
Lastly, do not forget to save your document.
This was just to get your feet wet in the Merge pool. We will cover this in the near future with more in depth details.