Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Mail Merge Mania
In This Chapter
Understanding mail merge
Building the main document
Conjuring up a recipient list
Making a recipient list
Inserting fields into the main document
Merging (the final act)
Here’s a little quiz: What do these things have in common? Rocket science. Quantum mechanics.
Brain surgery. Levitation. The answer: They’re all a lot easier to accomplish on your own than by
using mail merge in Word. I’m not saying that mastering mail merge is impossible. True, it’s an ancient
word processing tradition — something that just about everyone toys with at one time or another. Yet
the way Word handles mail merge has been traditionally and consistently frustrating. That’s why I
wrote this chapter.
About Mail Merge
The term mail merge is given to the process of opening a single document, stirring in a list of names
and other information, and then combining (merging) everything. The result is a sheaf of personalized
documents. Sounds useful, right? Peruse this section before making up your mind.
Understanding Word’s mail merge jargon
Before taking the mail merge plunge, you should understand these three terms, used throughout the
mail merge process:
Main document: This document is just like any other document in Word, complete with formatting
and layout and all the fancy stuff you can put into a document. The big difference is that the main
document contains the various fill-in-the-blanks items that are used to create form letters.
Recipient list: This list contains the information you use to create customized documents. It’s a type
of database file — basically, names and other information organized in rows and columns. It’s this
information that’s merged with the main document to create customized documents.