Have you ever wanted to send the same email to lots of different people?
Have you ever wanted to customize the wording for all these different recipients?
Have you ever wanted to print the customized documents for lots of people?
Well, you can do with using Word. Yes, you heard right. Microsoft Word, your everyday tool can be used in this regard. And all you need here is the mail merge feature.
Mail merge is easy to learn and do too. This feature has proven to be quite useful and popular within the business setting. Still its benefits are not only within the workplace, but extend into other areas of society as well. In short, lots of others could use it too.
Today, I want to share a brief tutorial of how you can start using mail merge today.
Here are a few questions I want to answer for you before we start.
What is mail merge useful for?
Mail merge is mostly used to help you send customized emails to lots of people using a standard template and wording. Mail merge is also used to create multiple documents (letters, memos etc.) at once.
Does mail merge work on all versions of Word?
Yes, as far as we know mail merge works the same on all versions of Microsoft Word.
What do I need to start using merge?
- Your main template document
- Your data source
What specific tools would I need?
- Microsoft word
- Microsoft excel
Now we have answered the four most common questions I get asked a lot, let’s get to the meat of the post.
What do we hope to achieve?
We want to create as many custom documents at once.
- A new Word document: First you have to create a template. It’s the same process as creating a new Word file. Here is the text for our template. It’s a simple example I have used
My name is Eli. I like the song EmptyMe.
- A new Excel document: Next prepare the recipient list. This would have the different changes that would be displayed. We would do this by creating a new excel file.
This is my list. This next bit is important. All data to be merged should be on the first sheet of your spreadsheet.
- Variables: Next we need to select the variables that would keep changing. We want the name (i.e. Eli in the example above) as well as the song (Robbie Williams in the example above) to both change. Column names in your spreadsheet match the field names you want to insert in your mail merge.
- Kind of merge: On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail merge group, choose Start Mail Merge, and then choose the kind of merge you want to run. I chose letter.
- Recipients: Choose your data source and recipient list. Choose Select Recipients > Use an Existing List. Browse to where we have saved our Excel spreadsheet, and then choose Open.
- Edit recipients: Edit the mailing list. Choose Edit Recipient List. In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, clear the check box next to the name of any person who you don’t want to receive your mailing. Click OK.
- Add merge fields: It would be seen on Word as Insert a merge field. You can insert one or more mail merge fields that pull the information from your spreadsheet into your document.
On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Insert Merge Field. In the Insert Merge Field dialog box, under Fields, choose a field name (column name in your spreadsheet), and then choose Insert. Repeat step 2 as needed for song, and choose close when done.
You will see that a variable is shown on the word document like so
These variables stand for the each individual row within MS excel.
Remember to keep saving your file. That is the usual steps of choose File and clicking Save.
- Finishing things off: Preview results and finish the mail merge. On the Mailings tab, choose Preview Results.
Choose the Next record button for mail merge preview results or previous record button for mail merge preview results record button to move through records in your data source and view how the records will appear in the document.
In the Finish group, choose Finish & Merge, and choose Print Documents or Send E-mail Messages.
- Save your mail merge: When you save the mail merge document, it stays connected to your data source. You can reuse the mail merge document for your next bulk mailing.
Open the mail merge document and choose Yes when Word prompts you to keep the connection.
- Viola: You are done. You can keep reusing this template or create new templates with your prior recipient list. Alternatively, you can keep growing your recipient list, whilst using the same template.
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