Understanding the Mail Merge Feature

Word makes it easy for you to take a list of names and addresses and merge them with a form letter, an envelope template, or mailing labels. This enables you to quickly create items for mass mailings that appear to be customized for each person on the mailing list.

Although the Mail Merge Wizard walks you through the merge process, the entire procedure can be somewhat confusing. Two different documents are used during the merge process: a main document and a data source. The main document is your form letter or mailing label template, and the data source is a Word document that provides the list of names and addresses that are inserted into the main document during the merge. The data source can be created prior to the mail merge or during the process.

The information in the data source is inserted into the form letter or mailing label using placeholder codes called merge fields . Each merge field in the main document relates to a piece of information in the data source document, such as first name or street address, and the merge field gets its name from that particular field in the data source.


Merge Fields Codes serve as placeholders in your main document; for example, { FirstName} is an example of a merge field code that serves as a placeholder for the first-name information that is pulled from the data source.


Data Source The file of information, such as a list of names and addresses, to be merged into the main document (such as form letters , envelopes, or mailing labels). Data sources in Word typically take the form of a table, with each row in the table containing the name and address of a different individual.

The best way to understand how the various elements of the merge processthe main document, the data source, and field codesrelate is to actually perform a merge. Working through a merge that creates form letters for the entire list of people in a data source is a good place to start because creating other merge documents, such as labels and envelopes, is a similar process.

Because the merge process really consists of four different actionscreating the main document, creating the data source, inserting the merge fields into the main document (based on the data in the data source), and finally running the mergethis lesson breaks down each of these actions in their own section. We begin with starting the Mail Merge Wizard and creating the main document.

Microsoft Office 2003 All-in-One
Microsoft Office 2003 All-in-One
Year: 2002
Pages: 660
Authors: Joe Habraken

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