How To Do a Mail Merge in Word Using an Excel Spreadsheet – Concord University Help Desk

Performing a mail merge is a great way to generate personalized letters or emails.

There are three documents involved in the mail merge process:

  • your main document
  • your data source
  • your combined document

Note: The examples below contain sample screenshots of Microsoft Word 2016. If you have a different version of Word, there may be some minor differences; however, the same basic program flow must apply.

step 1: create your excel spreadsheet

The most important step in the mail merge process is setting up and preparing your data. will use your excel spreadsheet as the data source for your recipient list.

Here are some tips for preparing your data for a mail merge:

  • make sure the column names in your spreadsheet match the field names you want to insert in your mail merge
  • all data to be merged is present in the first sheet of your spreadsheet
  • all data entries with percentages, currencies and postal codes are formatted correctly in the spreadsheet so that word can correctly read their values
  • the excel spreadsheet to be used in the mail merge is stored on your local computer
  • changes or additions to your spreadsheet are completed before you connect to your mail merge document correspondence in word

Step 2: Create a mail merge document

When creating a mail merge, you have the ability to use an existing document/letter.

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in word, open the existing file and click on the ‘mailings’ tab in the main menu.

In the mailings tab, choose the “start mail merge” button, a list of different types of documents (ie letters, emails, etc.) will be displayed. choose the type of combination you want to run.

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now choose the ‘select recipients’ button and choose ‘use an existing list’

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browse to find the excel spreadsheet you previously saved, then choose ‘ok’.

note: your excel spreadsheet is now connected to the mail merge document you are creating in word.

step 3: insert the merge fields

you’ll notice that menu items are now active that weren’t before

You can insert one or more mail merge fields that pull the information from your spreadsheet into your document.

In your word document, highlight the field you want to fill in with the excel data.

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in the post tab, choose the ‘insert merge field’ button, a list of the column headings in your saved excel document (ie company name etc) will be displayed. choose the appropriate field you want to merge and choose insert.

the highlighted field will be replaced with the merge field (ie “company”, etc.)

repeat step 3 for each of the fields you want to merge, choosing close when done.

now choose ‘save’.

step 4: preview the mail merge

after inserting the merge fields you want, you can now preview the results to confirm the document is set up the way you want.

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in the post tab, select “preview results”. the merge fields will be filled with the data from the first row of your excel document.

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To scroll through the records in your data source and see how they will appear in the document, select the right arrow to move forward or the left arrow to the previous record.

Step 5: Merge and save your mail merge

in the post tab, choose the option ‘finish & merge button’, a list of different types of merges will be displayed (ie edit individual documents, print documents and send emails) choose ‘edit individual documents’. a ‘merge with new document’ popup will appear, choose ‘ok’.

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now you will have a separate letter for each of the rows in the excel document which you can print, email, etc.

Step 6: Save the mail merge document

When you’re done working with your merged documents, save and close it as you would any other word document. once closed, the mail merge template will remain open. if you plan to reuse it in the future, save it and it will stay connected to your data source.

note: a mail merge can just as easily be an email merge. Add a column to your excel spreadsheet that contains the email address to send each merged letter to. under ‘finish and merge’, select ‘send emails’ and to specify the name of the column that contains the email address and specify the subject to use.

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