Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Field: Each of these fill-in-the-blanks items inside the main document is a placeholder that will be
filled in by information from the recipient list. Fields are what make the mail merge possible.
Getting these three elements to work together is the essence of mail merge. You use the Mailings tab
in Word to make it all happen, as explained throughout this chapter.
The main document need not be a form letter. It can be an e-mail message, an envelope, a set of
labels, or anything else that can be mass-produced.
The key to mail merging is the recipient list. If you plan to create a mail merge as
part of your regular routine, build a recipient list that you can use repeatedly.
A mail merge document can have as many fields as it needs. In fact, any item you want to
change can be a field: the greeting, a banal pleasantry, gossip, whatever.
Fields are also known as merge fields.
You can use information from the Outlook program, also a part of Microsoft Office,
to work as a recipient list for a mail merge in Word. This trick works best, however, when
you’re in a computer environment that features Microsoft Exchange Server. Otherwise, making
Outlook and Word cooperate with each other can be a frustrating endeavor.
Reviewing the mail merge process
The typical mail merge involves five steps:
1. Build the main document.
You can create several types of mail merge documents:
Letter: The traditional mail merge document is a letter, which is simply a document in Word.
E-Mail Messages: Word can produce customized e-mail messages, which are sent
electronically rather than printed.
Envelopes: You can use mail merge to create a batch of customized envelopes, each printed
with its own address.
Labels: Word lets you print sheets of labels, each of which is customized with specific
information from the mail merge. See Chapter 28 for specifics.
Directory: A directory is a list of information, such as a catalog or an address book.
2. Decide which fields are needed for the main document.