Word, Mail Merge

In this article I will explain how to use Mail Merge in word.


What is it?

Did you ever need to send the same letter or document to multiple recipients. In such letters there are usually two parts:

  1. The  parts that are the same for all recipients
  2. The parts that are specific to each recipient (For example the address, greeting line, …)

Using Mail Merge you can generate these letter.

For example consider the letter below:
Mail Merge

As you can see the following part have been highlighted:

  1. Recipient address
  2. Greeting line
  3. A table at the end of the document

These parts are specific to each recipient. While the rest of the letter is the same for all recipients.

Step 1, Create the Main Layout for Your Letter:

The first step would be to create the main layout for the letter. For the letter in the previous section the main layout would look something like the figure below. As you can see all the highlighted content was removed:
Main Layout

Step 2, Create a Recipient List:

The next step would be to create a list of all the recipients you want to send the document to. You could either create a new one or use an existing list. I have explained how to create a recipient list in the article below:

In this example we need the following fields

  • Title
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Address Line 1
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
  • Country

We also need to add 3 custom fields for the table at the end of the letter:

  • ID
  • Bill
  • Due Date

Therefore the following columns will be needed:
Customized Columns
After customizing the columns we can update the recipients data:
Word Mail Merge Recepients

Address Block:

As explained in the first section, one of the features of Mail Merge is the address block. The address block inserts an address specific to each recipient in each letter. For example consider the figure below:
Address Block

The highlighted text is automatically generated for each recipient at the top of each letter.

I have explained about the address block in the article below:

Greeting Line:

You can generate Greeting Lines using Mail Merge. All you need to do is:

  1. Select the location you would like the greeting line to appear
  2. Select the greeting  line format

Word will generate a GreetingLine for each recipient in the output documents. I have explained this topic in the article below:

In the figure below the highlighted text is the Greeting Line. It is automatically generated for each recipient at the top of each letter:
Greeting Line

Insert Fields:

Rather than inserting an entire block of text (Address or Greeting Line) you can insert specific Fields from the recipients list. In each letter the inserted field will be replaced by its value from the recipient list. I have covered this topic in the article below:

For example consider the document below. In the table the 3 fields ID, Bill and Due Date have been inserted from the recipient list explained in Step 2:
Insert Field
After merging the documents each of these fields will be replaced by its associated value from the recipient list.


There are several different Rule Fields you can add to your Mail Merge Document:

Ask Rule: Prompts the user to input a text value when merging is taking place. The response by the user can be displayed in multiple locations in the document.

Fill In Rule: Similar to the Ask Rule, but the response from the user will only be displayed in one location in the document.

If Then Else Rule: Compares the value of a field with a value selected by the user. Based on the result of this comparison, different values can be displayed in the fields location.

Merge Record #: Displays the current record number.

Merge Sequence #: Displays the current record number from those that have been merged. This field will only appear after merging has taken place.

Merge Next Record Rule: All proceeding Fields will get their value from the next record.

Next Record If Rule: Makes a comparison. If the result is true all proceeding fields will skip a record.

Skip Record If Rule: Makes a comparison. If the result is true, the current record will not be merged.

Step 3, Merging:

This is the last step of Mail Merge. It can be done by clicking on the Finish and Merge button on the mailings ribbon:
Finish and Merge
Edit Individual Documents …
Will generate a single document with all the requested records in it:
Result 1

Print Documents …
Will merge and send the documents directly to the printer.

Send Email Messages…
Will display the following dialog:
From the first drop down list you can choose the  field which the recipient’s email should be retrieved from. Note the fields where defined when creating the Recipient list in step 2:
Email Dialog
You can download the sample file used in this article from the link below:

See also:

If you need assistance with your code, or you are looking for a VBA programmer to hire feel free to contact me. Also please visit my website  www.software-solutions-online.com

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