Word 2019/365: Mail Merge

Updated 2019-08-12


·         To learn how to create form letters by combining an Excel spreadsheet that has a list of names with a Word document.

Mail Merge

A mail merge involves using two documents to create form letters, mailing labels, etc. The first document is called the main document (the form letter). The second document is called the data source (the list of names and addresses that are to be inserted into the main document). It works like this:

Doing a Mail Merge

·         Create your list of recipients, called the data source. See the table on the right in the picture above. This can be an Excel spreadsheet, a table in a Word document, a table in an Access database, or a number of other data sources.

·         Create/open your main document (the letter).

·         Create your letter as you would create any document, but leave blanks where the fields from the data source will go (see the red text in the picture above).

·         Click on the Mailings tab.

·         In the Start Mail Merge group, click on the down arrow at the bottom of the Start Mail Merge button.

·         From the drop-down menu, click on Step-by-step Mail Merge Wizard.
A 6-step Mail Merge wizard appears on the right side of your screen. The steps in the Mail Merge Wizard are listed below.

Step 1: Select a document type

·         At the top of the window, click on the type of document you wish to create. In this case, click on Letter:

·         At the bottom of the window, click on Next: Starting document.

Step 2: Select starting document

·         At the top of the window, click on Use the current document.

·         At the bottom of the window, click on Next: Select recipients.

Step 3: Select recipients

·         If you already have a list, click on Use an existing list and click on Browse…

·         Browse to the file location. Word can use lists in a Word document (if the document is a table), an Excel document, and an Access database file (as well as others).


·         If your data is in an Excel workbook with multiple worksheets, you should get a dialog box like this:


Note that you will probably see more than one worksheet. Click on the one that has your data (probably Sheet1).

Click on OK.

·         On the other hand, if you do NOT already have a list of recipient names and addresses, click on Type a new list and click on Create… and create your list. Note that this will take several steps that are not covered here.

·         When you have created your list, at the bottom of the window, click on Next: Write your letter.

Step 4: Write your letter

·       At the top of the window, click on More items….

·         A list of available fields will appear.

·         Position the cursor in the main document where you want the field to be inserted.

·         Click on a field that you want to appear in your letter and click on the Insert button. Repeat this for each field.

·         When all of your fields have been inserted, click on the Cancel button.

·         If you need to re-position any field, you may select it (be sure to include the « and » symbols that surround each field name) with the mouse and drag it to the location where you want it to appear in your document. Be sure to include spaces before and after fields, as well as any punctuation.

·         At the bottom of the window, click on Next: Preview your letters:

Step 5: Preview your letters

·         Use the  and  buttons to move forward and backwards through your letters:

·         At the bottom of the Mail Merge window, click on Next: Complete the merge:

Step 6: Complete the merge

·         If you want to print your letters now, click on the print button.

·         If you want to save your letters now and print/edit them later, click on the edit individual letters button.

·         The following dialog box will appear:

·         Click on OK.

·         Word will create a new document for you, with one letter for each recipient. You can scroll through your document and see all of the individual letters. If you look in the lower left corner, Word should tell you how many pages long your document is. The document should be named LettersN.docx where the N is some number.

·         To save the merged letters, click on File | Save As. Provide a more descriptive name than LettersN.docx.

·         To save the original letter template, close the merged letters file, then click on File | Save As.