Helpful Tips On Mail Merging Documents

Tess Irons By Tess Irons, 27th Oct 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Web Servers

I have been a secretary for many years, and most of the time, I send the same type of letters to different people. Mail merging has helped me a lot in doing my job particularly on mass mailing. This article explains how to mail merge documents.

It Saves Time And Is Easy To Do

One of the many things I find very easy to do in my job is mail merging. This is a method of writing one form of document to be sent to different addressees. Where I used to work, I would usually send several letters with the same content to different people. Before starting the mail merge process, you have to make sure that the main letter is already prepared and leave blank the parts where the recipient’s information should be typed. There is also a need to create a data source that would serve as a database, where each recipient’s information would be stored. Once the data source is created, it would be easy to start merging the information with the main letter.

There have been many versions used for mail merging. The last one I have used is a lot easier than the older versions. The next section of this article gives a step-by-step instruction on how to do mail merging.

Creating The Main Document

I am going to prepare a letter using Microsoft Word 2007. I’m sure you are all familiar how to create a document in the word program. Otherwise, follow the instruction below:

Start creating a word document, which will be your main letter. Be sure to save it. Just for this purpose, let’s name it Thank You Letter. Once it is saved, you can close it and just open it again when you are ready to start merging all the data into the main letter. The picture above is the document I created.

In the mean time, create another word document. This second document will serve as the data source, where the recipients' information will come from.

Creating The Data Source

Data Source is done by building a list that contains the recipients' information. To do this, you need to create a table. Click Table from the tool bars located in the upper left part of your screen (note that your tool bars may be located somewhere else). Under Table, choose Insert, then Table. It will then give you a table that you can modify later if you need to. The number of rows and columns will depend on the number of your recipients and their information. Save it. Again, just for this purpose, let’s name it Customers.

Start labeling the columns with headings like Title, Mailing Name, Address, and so forth. Under each heading, enter all the recipients' information. After everything is entered, you can start merging them with the main document, which is the Thank You Letter. Please refer to the illustration above how the table should look like.

The Mail Merge Process

The following steps will guide you to do the actual mail merging:

1) Open the document Thank You Letter that you first prepared. The letter does not contain the data source yet. This is the time you are going to insert those data.
2) From the tool bars, click Tools, then Mail Merge.
3) A box containing a checklist numbered 1, 2, 3 will appear. Under Checklist #1 Main Document, click Create, then choose Form Letters.
4) You will then be asked to choose between Active Window and New Main Document. Choose Active Window.
5) Go to Checklist #2 Data Source and click Get Data.
6) It will give you some options. Choose Open Data Source.
7) Open the second document that you created earlier, which was the Customers.
8) A message box will appear. Click Edit Main Document.
9) From your tool bars, click Insert Merge Field.
10) It will give you the list of merge fields such as Title, First Name, Last Name, Street Address, City, State, ZIP Code, and Salutation.
11) Put your cursor two spaces below the date of the letter, then click Title. Press your space bar one time, then click Insert Merge Field again and choose Mailing Name.
12) Go to the next line, press Insert Merge Field and click Street Address.
13) Go to the next line, press Insert Merge Field and click City. Type a comma (,) next to the city, then press the space bar one time. Click Insert Merge Field and then choose State. Press the space bar again one time, click Insert Merge Field and choose ZIP Code.
14) Go to the salutation line, and next to the word Dear, add a space by pressing your space bar once. Click Insert Merge Field and choose Salutation. Put a comma (,) next to the salutation.

After following these steps correctly, your document should look like the picture shown above.

Prepare To Print The Document

Before printing your letters, review how the document looks like. From your tool bars, click the ABC button, which is located next to Insert Merge Field and Insert Word Field buttons. At this point, the merge fields such as Title, Mailing Name, Street Address, and so forth will change to the actual information of the recipients.

You can check each letter addressed to every recipient by clicking the left or right arrow button labeled with numbers. That button is located next to the ABC button.

You can finalize your letter by clicking Merge located in the tool bar area of the screen. A message box will then appear. Under the Merge To, click the down arrow button and choose Printer. Once your printer box appears, click OK. All the letters addressed to each recipient will then be printed. Make sure that before clicking the OK button, you have your papers already in the printer tray.

The picture above shows the completed mail merged letter. It may be a little confusing at first, but once you have done this a few times, it will be a lot easier. Take note that you can also print address labels using the mail merge method, but you have to choose Labels instead of Form Letters when you set up the merging process.

I hope you find this very helpful. Enjoy mail merging!

Note: The names and addresses in the examples above are fictional.

Image Credit:
Picture 1: morgue file


Bulk Mailing, Documents, Form Letters, Helpful Tips On Mail Merging Documents, Letters, Mail Merge, Mass Mailing, Tess Irons, Wikinut

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author avatar Tess Irons
I love to write poems and essays.

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author avatar mistyleaf
28th Oct 2012 (#)

Hi Tess! Very helpful article. Thanks for the share.

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author avatar Buzz
28th Oct 2012 (#)

Very informative, hon Tess. Take care.

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