Bulk mailing painful? Use Mail Merge!

Oct 15, 2018 | Uncategorised, Word Hints and Tips

Have you needed to send out bulk letters and found you have manually adjusted each letter with the client’s address and other information that you need to change for each person.  You don’t have to change each letter by hand.  Using mail merge the process becomes much more efficient.

When can you use Mail Merge?

When we talk about mail merge it’s often related to letters because that is where it is most often used but it can also be applied to create envelopes, mailing labels and emails in a similar way.  The easiest way to use this feature, unless you are already proficient with it and can navigate your way around the icons on the ribbon, is using the mail merge wizard.

From the Mailings tab select Start Mail Merge then Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard.  A pane will appear on the right-hand side of the screen guiding you through the whole process.  The assumption for this post is that you are creating letters but the steps are similar for the other options

Step 1 – Select Document Type

Choose from the options of creating Letters, Email Messages, Envelopes, Labels or a Directory.  Each is explained in more detail when you select them.  In this case select Letters.

Step 2 – Select Starting Document

The choices available are Use current document, Start from document template or Start from new document.  The one you choose will be determined by whether you have a pre-prepared document you want to use, you want to use a letter template produced by Word or you want to start from scratch.

Step 3 – Select Recipients

These can come from an existing list that may have been produced in a previous mail merge or from data stored in Excel or another form of database, from Outlook contacts or can be typed into a table.

Step 4 – Write your Letter

How much is written here will depend on whether you are using an existing file, a template or starting from scratch.  The main text in the letter must be added.  The clever bit is using the options of address block to add the address of the individuals to the letter, greeting line to add the part that says “Dear Joe Bloggs” or equivalent or items to add any individual bit of information that is held in the table that includes the recipients.

This will not add specific data at this point but a field which will be populated with each individuals’ details when the mail merge is complete.  There will be choices for the layouts of the address block and greeting line when they are created.  They show up in the document as <<greeting line>> or <<address block>>

Step 5 – Preview your Letters

You will now see what one of your letters will look like when the merge is complete.  You can toggle through the recipients in turn to check they also work and exclude the recipient currently visible if you don’t want to include it in the merge

Step 6 – Complete the Merge

If each of the letters at the previous step looked exactly as you needed them then they can be printed immediately.  If you needed to manually adjust any or want to keep an electronic version of what you have sent then edit individual letters will produce you a new file showing each letter on a separate page of the document

The letter produced can be reused with a different set of names and addresses or the names and addresses can be used again in another letter or used to produce the envelopes or labels to go along with the letters already produced.

Want to learn more about using Word to improve your efficiency then have look at the Word Courses that we can run or contact lara@laramellortraining.co.uk to discuss your training requirements further.