There are several ways to approach creating a mail merge document. The approach outlined below is one of the most efficient and foolproof methods.
- Ensure that you have a data source created.
- Open an existing letter or start a new one.
- Choose Tools → Letters and Mailings ? Mail Merge.
The Mail Merge task pane will step you through the process of mail merge.
- In Step 1 of the Mail Merge task pane, in the Select document type section, select Letters. Click Next.
- In Step 2 of the Mail Merge task pane, in the Select starting document section, select Use the current document. Click Next.
- In Step 3 of the Mail Merge task pane, in the Select recipients section, select Use an existing list.
- In the Use an existing list section, click Browse.
- Locate your data source.
- When the Open Data Source dialog appears, be sure to click on the Files of Type drop-down arrow and select All Data Sources or All Files (*.*) or a filter that matches the source of your data.
Depending on the type of data source, you may be prompted to select a specific worksheet, range, table or query.
- In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, select the records in your data source which should be used in the mail merge, then click OK.
You can filter and sort the list by clicking the drop-down arrows next to the field headings. Choose Advanced from the drop-down list to create a custom filter and sort.
- You will be returned to the Mail Merge task pane, on Step 3. Click Next.
- In Step 4 of the Mail Merge task pane, you are able to insert the fields in your letter that will be populated by the data source. Position the insertion point in your document where you wish to insert a field, then select the field from links in the task pane. The Address block, Greeting line and other links create fields using a combination of data in the data source. In each, you can configure the text and fields that are used. The More items link will display the list of fields in your data source.
- When you have finished inserting fields into the document, click Next.
- In Step 5 of the Mail Merge, you can step through a preview of each merged document using the Next and Previous arrow buttons. If something looks incorrect, you can click the Previous link at the bottom of the task pane to return to Step 4 of the process. You can also exclude a recipient or modify the recipient list.
- When you are satisfied that the merge will produce satisfactory documents, click Next.
- In Step 6 of the Mail Merge, you can select Print, which will send each merged document directly to the printer. Or you can select Edit individual letters. This option will create a new document that consists of each individual merged document. Each merged document will be separated using a section break. You can edit individual letters within the merged document, or you can print it.
- In the Merge dialog box, you can specify which records to merge. If you select All or a range of records, the merge will be performed only for recipients within that range that are selected in the recipient's list.
You will generally want to save the data source, since you will be likely to need the data source again for mail merges or other tasks in the future. You will generally also want to save the merge document. The merge document is the "original" document with the inserted field codes. With these two components, you can re-run the merge at a later date.
You usually do not need to save the resulting document which contains all of the individual documents, because you could always re-generate this document by performing the merge again. Merged documents are usually temporary and dynamic, so it is often not efficient to save a resulting merge document.
However, if you are going to edit individual documents, or if your data source or original merge document is going to change, and if you want to preserve a record of this merge, then you would need to save the resulting merged document. Alternatively, you can create a backup of the data source and original merge document, so that you could re-run the merge at a later date.