Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
To make mail merge work, you need a database, which is a list of information to place into the
fillin-the-blanks part of each document. In Word’s mail merge ordeal, this database is the recipient list.
Using a recipient list is the second step in a mail merge, after creating the main document.
Every main document must have its own recipient list. You can create a new recipient list, use
an existing one, borrow one from the Microsoft Office Outlook program, or steal one from a
database server, which is an option too scary for me to write about in this topic.
Creating a recipient list
Unless you already have recipient lists built and saved, you need to make one from scratch. This
process involves setting up the list, removing unneeded fields that Word annoyingly preselects for
you, adding the fields you truly need, and finally, filling in the list. It’s quite involved, so follow
Follow these steps to create a new recipient list:
1. Create and save the main document.
Refer to the section “The Main Document,” earlier in this chapter. Creating the recipient list
works the same no matter what type of mail merge document you created.
2. On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, choose Select Recipients ⇒ Type a New
If this option isn’t available, you haven’t properly created the main document. Start over in the
earlier section, “The Main Document.” Otherwise, you see the New Address List dialog box, as
Word assumes that you need a dozen or so fields for your mail merge, which is silly because it’s
more than you need. So the next set of steps removes the surplus fields and replaces them with the
fields your document requires.
3. Click the Customize Columns button.
The Customize Address List dialog box appears, displaying fields that Word assumes you need.
Such foolishness cannot be tolerated.
4. Select a field that you do not need.
Click it with the mouse.
5. Click the Delete button.