Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
What is mail merge?
In this project, you’ll learn about a fantastic tool called ‘mail merge’ that you can use
to create lots of documents that have slight variations between them. Mail merge was
originally used to print a set of addresses onto letters and envelopes, which is how it
got the ﬁ rst half of its name. It’s the same technology your electricity company uses to
send you a personally addressed letter that is essentially identical to about a million
other letters it prints on the same day. But don’t let that put you off! It might be best
known for its role in junk mail, but why should the devil have all the best tunes?
I’m going to show you how you can use mail merge to create tailored invitations,
using an event I’m planning as an example.
For this project, you’ll be building on the skills you learned in earlier chapters. For
a dazzling layout, you’ll draw upon your experience using text boxes and images
in Word, which you learned about in Chapter 3. You’ll also need an address book
in Excel, which was the project in Chapter 4. If you haven’t created an address
book and want to experiment with the project in this chapter anyway, you can
download my project ﬁ les from www.sean.co.uk , but you might need to refer
back to Chapter 4 to understand how to do some of the manipulation in Excel.
As you can see from the ideas at the end of this chapter, this project opens up lots
of creative opportunities for you, from personalised story books for your
grandchildren to place settings for a dinner party.
What is mail merge?
Mail merge is a feature of Word. You might have heard it mentioned or stumbled
across it in Word’s menus. So what’s it all about?
When you want to create a document that contains slightly different information
for each person you send it to, mail merge enables you to do this by creating a
document in which you leave gaps where you want information to be added in
automatically. Usually, this will be information about the person that you’re
sending the document to, but it doesn’t have to be. When your bank sends you a
standard marketing letter, for example, they leave a gap at the start where it says
‘Dear’, so that the computer can automatically insert your name.
It’s called a mail merge because Word merges your standard letter with an Excel
spreadsheet of information, to ﬁ ll the gaps in it.