Mail merge

A mail merge is a software function that creates a large number of documents from a single template and data source (merging the two together). The template contains unchanging information with fields for the changing or unique information. A mail merge is typically performed by a word processor, like Microsoft Word.

With Microsoft Word

  1. Launch Microsoft Word and leave a blank document open.
  2. From the Tools menu, select Letters and Mailings > Mail Merge Wizard. The Mail Merge Wizard will appear in the Task Pane on the right side of the screen.
  3. The Mail Merge Wizard opens with a question about the type of merged document you want to create. Make your selection and click Next.
  4. Next you need to select which document you will be using. You can use the current open blank document, or a template or an existing document. After making your selection, click Next.
  5. The next step is to connect your data file, (list of unique information) to the mail merge. You can use an existing list or type a new list. If you use an existing list - the wizard will ask you to locate the list and then show you the list in the Mail Merge Recipient List dialog box.
    • The Mail Merge Recipients List dialog box allows you to sort by any field, filter the field lists or exclude recipients from the merge.
    • You can return to the Mail Merge Recipient List dialog box by clicking the Edit recipient list link in the Task Pane.
  6. After selecting your data file, click Next:Write your letter.
  7. The next step is to write your letter and insert the merge fields into the letter. You have two options for inserting merge fields.
    Mailmerge taskpane helpers.jpg
    • Task Pane Helpers. If you use one of the helpers in the Task Pane, you will be asked a few questions about how you would like the information formatted, and then match your data fields to those for the formatting you selected.
    • Inserting Individual Merge Fields. If you wish to insert individual fields, you can do this from the More items option in the Task Pane, or the Insert Merge Field on the mail merge tool bar.
      Mailmerge insertfield.jpg
  8. After inserting your merge fields, the next step is to Preview your letter. Click Next:Preview your letters.
  9. The Preview allows you to page through each record, preview a specific record by clicking Find a recipient, exclude a recipient or edit the recipient list. If you need to go back to the original document and make changes - click the Previous option.
  10. After previewing your merge, click Next:Complete the merge.
  11. Now you have the option to print your document or save it. When you save, it will save the document and it's connection to the data field. The next time you open the document it will ask you about the data field, and if you want to perform the merge again.
    • Answering yes will remerge the document.
    • Answering no will break the connection and insert the unique information from the first record into the document.

Helpful hints

Need help sending your merged e-mail?
visit our Outlook Mail Merge page
Numbers not printing correctly?
Occasionally in a merge you have problems with the formatting of numbers from your data set. Please see Microsoft Answer Box Article for help.
Saving a merge to use again
If you want to save your merged document to use again, perhaps with a different data set - Save your document before the Preview records stage.
Restore a mail merge document to a regular document
After creating a merge document, to restore it back to the regular document, please see Microsoft Answer Box for help.
Practice data set
Here is a practice data set for trying a mail merge in Word. Data Set