How to Use Mail Merge

By Louise Balle

Microsoft Word has a convenient and easy-to-use mail merge function that allows you to produce personalized documents addressed to specific people with just a few clicks. You simply enter data in one database style Word file and then enter a basic format into a main document that the data will be merged to. This is commonly used by people who need to send sales and cover letters to a mass group of people or produce packing slips and invoices for orders. Once the mail merge data sheet is set up, it can be used continuously for a variety of different types of mailings and communications to the people on your list. You can also add more entries to your data sheet as needed with just a few clicks.

Step 1

Open a blank document in Microsoft Word. Click "Start Mail Merge" under the Tools menu (found on the "Mailings" toolbar in Word 2007).

Step 2

Choose the type of mail merge that you want to perform. You can merge letters, envelopes, labels and even email messages using Word.

Step 3

Select the recipients that you would like to include in your mail merge. If you do not already have a list of recipients ready in a Word file (listed in database form), you have the option of creating a new list. The mail merge wizard will give you a selection of fields that you can add to your list. Choose the fields that will identify and personalize each recipient for your needs. You can also add your own special field names. This could include name, address, phone number, or even less common identifiers like website address or favorite ice cream flavor. Think about how your letter or message to this recipient will be crafted when choosing fields.

Step 4

Create your main document. The main document is the common letter, envelope, label or email message design into which the information from the mail merge recipient list will be dumped. So, for example, for a standard letter you would write your note in the main document and then have an address box at the top where the recipient information will be dumped in.

Step 5

Add merge fields into your document. First, position your cursor in the main document where you want to add the merge field. Then click "Insert Merge Field"---this command should be shown on your toolbar or under "Tools> Mail Merge." You will see a list of all the fields that you created in your recipient list. For example, put thefield after "Dear" in the beginning of your letter, or insertsomewhere in the middle of your letter where you mentioned the person's ice cream preferences.

Step 6

Perform the mail merge. Select "Finish and Merge" on your Word toolbar. You are given the option to merge into a new editable file that will list every recipient's individual document, merge directly to a printer or merge to an email using Microsoft Outlook.

Tips & Warnings

  • Save the document and the recipient list frequently. Click "Edit Recipient List" on your Microsoft Word toolbar to add new recipients or make changes to your list.