You should do a mail merge when you have a document to be distributed
to several recipients, each receiving the same document except for the same pieces of information
varying for each recipient. Two elements are required in order to do a mail merge in MS Word:
1) a main document
2) a data source (a table of the variable information that will be “merged” into the
From “Create” choose the type of main document you are creating. In most cases you
will be creating form letters.
Choose whether you will be using as your main document the one on your screen when you
first began the mail merge process (Active Window) or do you wish to begin from a blank
screen (New Main Document).
Use “Active Window” if you want to convert a previously created and saved
document into a merge main document.
MS Word will automatically take you to the Save As dialog box so you won’t forget to save
your data source. Give it a unique name indicating that it is a data source file for merging.
Immediately after striking the “Save” button, the following box will appear.
You may choose to create your data source OR your main document. It doesn’t matter which
you do first.
This example will show the main document being created first.
You will have a new document started for you and your screen will have an additional toolbar.
The toolbar is the mail merge toolbar to assist you when creating new main merge documents or
performing existing merges.
After creating your main document, save it using a unique name that will identify it as a merge
After saving your main document, either 1) click on the Tools menu and then Mail Merge;
or 2) click on the mail merge helper button on the mail merge toolbar.
Continue with Step 2
Click on the “Edit” button at Step 2.
Now that the structure for the data source has been created, names can be added. Enter the
pieces of variable information using the data form on your screen. (hitting “Enter”
on your keyboard will move the cursor from text box to text box). Click on “New Record”
to move from a completed data form to a blank one. When you have entered in all of the records of
the data source, click “OK.”
Click on the mail merge helper tool or click the Tools menu and then click Mail merge.
Click on “Merge”.
From the Merge box, choose from the following customization possibilities for your merge.
Click “Merge” when ready to merge the main document and the data source. New documents
containing the varying information for each recipient are created.
It is recommended that you do not save the merged document file. Printing the new documents should
suffice. Once the main document and data source have been created, they can be merged at any time. Should
you have changes or need to add records to the data source, you can simply re-merge the two.
Saving this merged file would take up needless room on the network drive, since merged files typically
are very large.