Word Mailings Greeting Line (Mail Merge)

In this article I will explain the Greeting Line in word.


What is it?

Lets say you want to send the same letter to a 100 different recipients. Consider the following letter:


Everything in this letter is the same for all recipients except for the greeting line (the first line). Using a Greeting Line in Mail Merge will accomplish this. The Greeting Line feature generates a line of text specific to each recipient.

How to?

Before defining a greeting line you will need to create the main layout of the document and define a list of recipients. These are part of the mail merge process. Assuming the layout is ready and a list of recipients has already been defined follow the steps below:

Step 1:

Move the cursor to the location you would like to insert the greeting line. In this example we want the greeting line to appear at the top of the document:

Sterp 1

Step 2:

Click on the Greeting Line button on the mailing ribbon:

Step 2

Step 3:

In the window that opens you can define how you wish the greeting line to display:

Step 3

This will be further explained the proceeding sections.

Match Fields:

Match Fields, What is it?

What do you expect to see in a greeting line?

  • A First Name
  • A Last Name
  • A Title (i.e Dr, Mr, Ms)

So where is this data going to come from? This data will come from the Recipient List previously created. If you remember from that article when we wanted to define a recipient list, we would define columns. Each column was associated with a certain type of data. For example consider the recipient list below:

Word Mail Merge, Existing List
As you can see in the figure above:

  • This first column is storing the Last Name of the recipients
  • The second column is storing the First Name of the recipients
  • The third column is storing the recipient’s Title
  • The fourth column is storing the recipient’s Address.

While it may be obvious for you what data each column is displaying but it might not be the same for word. Word might not interpret correctly which column is storing what data. Therefore you might need to manually define (for word) what data each column is storing.

This can be done by using the Match Fields window:

Match Fields Window

Match Fields Window 2

For more information about working with the Match Fields window please see the link below:


There are 2 methods for previewing the results of the greeting line:

Method 1: On the Greeting Line window itself you can preview how the greeting line will be inserted in the document:


Method 2: After closing the Insert Greeting Line window, by pressing the Preview Button you will see how the the greeting line is displayed in the document:

Preview Greetine Line
Note: You can press the Next and Previous buttons to see how each recipient’s greeting line will display.

Greeting Line Format:

Using the drop down lists available on the Insert Greeting Line window you can choose how to display the greeting line.

Dear, To or None:
Using the first drop down list you can determine what to display before the name:

Dear, To, None

  • Dear Phil Youn
  • To Phil Youn
  • Phil Youn

Name Format:
Using the second drop down list you can determine the format to display the name:

Name Format
As you can see there are different formats:

  • Prefix+First Name
  • Prefix + First Name + Last Name
  • Prefix + First Name + Last Name + Suffix
  • First Name + Spouse/Partner First Name + Last Name
  • First Name + Last Name + Suffix

These name formats will only work correctly if each field has been defined in the Recipient List and has been matched correctly in the Match Fields window.

End Character:
At the end of the greeting line you can specify to display a Comma or Colon character:

Comma Collon
You can download the sample file related to 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *