How Use Mail Merge in Word

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Have you recently been looking to save time on letter labeling? Looking to potentially print those tedious labels en masse and cut the administrative time on petty housekeeping? Good news. A simple program can help you do just that! Better news, you probably already have it. Microsoft Word’s feature deemed “Mail Merge” can help anyone compile the proper information to build such documents and organize them in the appropriate manner.

What is Mail Merge in Word? Mail Merge helps you create a personalized batch of documents for a given recipient. Emails, letters, envelopes, directories—Mail Merge covers all of these. It works by amalgamating data and automatically placing it in the appropriate location.

It does this by using “merge fields.” These fields go even further than mere location placement, by ordering the information in the proper places as well. 

To do this you will need to choose where you are pulling the data from. Most commonly it is pulled from either a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or an Outlook contact list. However, while these are the most common, any database that can be connected to Microsoft Word will work as a source. If you do not yet have a pool from which to pull the data you can type it up in Word.

Each process is fairly streamlined, and follows the same general procession however here are individual links to each:

Beyond this, the personalization allows for an extra air of professionalism and when done in bulk as demonstrated can save copious amounts of time in the administrative backend.

Let’s walk through this process for “Letters.”

  1. Prepare the Letter

In general, the process begins when an individual opens Microsoft Word and goes to “Mailings.” From here the new “Mailings” menu bar will appear below. In this bar will appear a button near the front-left corner: “Start Mail Merge.”

Here you can pick between the paths of Letters, E-mail Messages, Envelopes, Labels, or Directories.

For this, you will select “Letter.”

Now go type the body of your letter in the Word document. This will be the letter that you send to your mailing list. 

  1. Set Up Your Mailing List

Your “Mailing List” is the data source that Word uses to compile the information that it will use to fashion your individual letter.

Here are potential data sources for you to implement in your “Mail Merge” experience with Word.

You can edit your mailing list as well if you want to be more particular in your mailing selection.

  1. Add Personalized Content Within Your Letter

Go to “Mailings.” Look for “Address Block.” Here you can change the format you want the recipient’s name to appear, specifically find this in the “Insert Address Block” box.

From here choose “OK.” Then continue by navigating back toward the Address Block option. Next to this button, you should find a “Greeting Line” option. By clicking on this a similar box will appear and you can select the style of greeting line you would like to use.

Click “OK.” Now would be a good time to save as well. (File > Save).

  1. Preview the Letters

Go to “Mailing.” Then “Preview Results.” Choose either “Next” or “Previous” to make sure the data is appropriate and names are thus, apt.

Selecting “Preview Results” again will switch you back to your merged fields from your merged file. 

  1. Printing the Letters

Select “Finish and Merge”, then “Print Documents.”

Here you can choose to “Edit Individual Documents”, “Print Documents”, or “Send Email Messages.”

While the minutia of each field is particular to the medium’s nature, nearly all fields function similarly in Word. By the simple approach of individual personalization to a mass disseminated letter, or the filings of subsets of labeling. 

The key takeaway is to have an established database. By doing this you will be ready to approach Word’s “Mail Merge” feature readily, without any time lost. Beyond this, having the substantive text ready for whatever you are pushing through the Mail Merge feature can also ensure limiting any spare time that may get lost in the projects.

With these two areas closed, the time saved within the process is extreme and more than beyond checking out or learning the experience of.

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