Mail Merge is a useful tool that allows you to produce multiple letters, labels, envelopes, name tags, and more using information stored in a list, database, or spreadsheet. When performing a Mail Merge, you will need a Word document (you can start with an existing one or create a new one) and a recipient list, which is typically an Excel workbook
Optional: If you'd like to work along with the lesson, you can download the examples below:
To use Mail Merge:
- Open an existing Word document, or create a new one.
- From the Mailings tab, click the Start Mail Merge command and select Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard from the drop-down menu.
Opening the Mail Merge Wizard
The Mail Merge pane appears and will guide you through the six main steps to complete a merge. The following example demonstrates how to create a form letter and merge the letter with a recipient list.
- Choose the type of document you want to create. In our example, we'll select Letters. Then click Next: Starting document to move to Step 2.
Selecting Letters and clicking Next
- Select Use the current document, then click Next: Select recipients to move to Step 3.
Selecting Use the current document and clicking Next
Now you'll need an address list so Word can automatically place each address into the document. The list can be in an existing file, such as an Excel workbook, or you can type a new address list from within the Mail Merge Wizard.
- From the Mail Merge task pane, select Use an existing list, then click Browse... to select the file.
- Locate your file and click Open.
Opening the Address List
- If the address list is in an Excel workbook, select the worksheet that contains the list and click OK.
Selecting a worksheet
- In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, you can check or uncheck each box to control which recipients are included in the merge. By default, all recipients should be selected. When you're done, click OK.
Selecting recipients to include or exclude
- From the Mail Merge task pane, click Next: Write your letter to move to Step 4.
If you don't have an existing address list, you can click the Type a new list button and click Create. You can then type your address list.
Now you're ready to write your letter. When it's printed, each copy of the letter will basically be the same; only the recipient data (such as the name and address) will be different. You'll need to add placeholders for the recipient data so Mail Merge knows exactly where to add the data.
To insert recipient data:
- Place the insertion point in the document where you want the information to appear.
Placing the insertion point in the desired location
- Choose one of the four placeholder options: Address block, Greeting line, Electronic postage, or More items.
Clicking Address block...
- Depending on your selection, a dialog box may appear with various options. Select the desired options and click OK.
Adjusting the address block formatting
- A placeholder will appear in your document (for example, «AddressBlock»).
The AddressBlock placeholder
- Repeat these steps each time you need to enter information from your data record. In our example, we'll add a Greeting line.
The GreetingLine placeholder
- When you're done, click Next: Preview your letters to move to Step 5.
For some letters, you'll only need to add an Address block and Greeting line. Sometimes, however, you may want to place recipient data within the body of the letter to personalize it even further.
- Preview the letters to make sure the information from the recipient list appears correctly in the letter. You can use the left and right scroll arrows to view each document.
Previewing the letters
- Click Next: Complete the merge to move to Step 6.
- Click Print... to print the letters.
Printing the letters
- A dialog box will appear. Click All, then click OK.
- The Print dialog box will appear. Adjust the print settings if needed, then click OK. The letters will be printed.
The Print dialog box
- Open an existing Word document. If you want, you can use our Practice document (Word document) and Address list (Excel workbook).
- Use the Mail Merge Wizard to merge the letter with the recipient list.
- Place an Address Block at the top of the page and a Greeting line above the body of the letter.
- Print the document.