Microsoft Word 2007 to 2016

Section Nine: 1 2

Mail Merge - Creating a Data Source

Mail merge is joining a Data source, such as an address book, with a Microsoft Word document. We'll create an address book in Word itself, and show you how to create one in Excel. When the data source is joined with Word, or merged, you can print the results onto letters, or labels, or onto an envelope directly.

We're going to create a Mail Merge for a letter. Once we set up a database of people, we can insert fields into the letter. With the click of a button all the letters will be created, along with address information inserted. So open a new blank document and let's see how it works.

Creating the Data Source in Microsoft Word

The first thing we need to do is to create a database of people, along with their address information. We'll use this later with the mail merge.

To create your database, click the Mailings tab at the top of Word. From the Mailings tab, locate the Start Mail Merge panel:

The Start Mail Merge panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010

Start Mail Merge panel showing three items

Click on Select Recipients to see a dropdown list:

The Select Recipients menu

We want to type a new list, so click on that item. You'll see the following dialogue box appear:

The New Address List dialogue box

This dialogue box allows you to type in address information, one address per line. If you scroll across using the scroll bar at the bottom of the dialogue box you'll see that there are a lot of columns you can fill in. You don't need to fill them all in, you'll be glad to know, just the ones you need.

To see how it works, type in a title, a first name, and a last name. You can use the same (fictitious) information as us. In the image below, we've entered Ms Helen James: (To get your cursor to flash in the next box, you can either just left click, or you can press the TAB key on your keyboard.)

A new address has been added

Now scroll across and enter the address information (12 Old Square, Evercrease):

Scrolling across the Address List dialogue box

To add a new address, click the New Entry button in the bottom left. A new row will be created, and your cursor will be flashing in the Title box again. Add the following addresses to your list:

Eric Khan, 10 New Square, Evercrease
Tommy Lee, 26 New Square, Evercrease
Priyanka Collins, 14 Old Square, Evercrease

When you're finished, your Address List should look something like this:

Four addresses have been added to the data source list

Now click OK. When you click on OK, you'll see the Save dialogue box appear. Type Address_List as the file name:

The Save Address list dialogue box

Take note of where the file is being saved, and the file type. You are saving it in a folder called My Data Sources, which is in the My Documents folder. The type of file is a MDB database.

Click the Save button to save your address list. You will then be returned to Microsoft Word.

If you want to add new addresses to your list, click on Edit Recipient List on the Start Mail Merge panel:

The Edit Recipients item on the Start Mail Merge panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010

When you click on Edit Recipient List you'll see a dialogue box appear. This one:

Edit your mail merge recipients

Click on your Data Source in the small box just above the Edit button in the bottom left. Then click the Edit button to bring up the Address List dialogue box again, where you can add a New Entry to your list.

Use Excel as a Data Source for Mail Merge

You can use an Excel spreadsheet as your data source for a Microsoft Word Mail Merge.

Open up Excel and enter some headings on the first row:

Headers for the Excel Mail Merge

These headings will be used by Word to identify your data. (You don't have to put the same headings as us. The names we've chosen are nothing special.)

Now enter your names and addresses:

Names and addresses for an Excel Mail Merge

And that's all you need for the data source in Excel: a row of headers, and the names and address below them.

Now that you have a data source set up, you can create the mail merge. We'll do that in the next part below.

<--Back to the Microsoft Word Contents Page