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Mail Merge master class: How to merge your Excel contact database with custom letters in Word

JD Sartain | June 30, 2015
The last piece of this three-part article is about merging your custom Word documents with your client list (exported from Outlook to Excel) for distribution. Part One explains how to selectively choose certain fields for exporting to Excel and Part Two explains how to customize, manage, and maintain that contact list in Excel.

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The last piece of this three-part article is about merging your custom Word documents with your client list (exported from Outlook to Excel) for distribution. Part One explains how to selectively choose certain fields for exporting to Excel and Part Two explains how to customize, manage, and maintain that contact list in Excel. 

Step 1: Start the Mail Merge Wizard

1. Open an existing document in Word or type a new custom letter.

2. From the Mailings tab, click Start Mail Merge, then select Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard from the dropdown menu. A Mail Merge window opens on the right side of the screen.

Step 2: Select a starting document

1. The first window prompts to select a document type: Letters, Email Messages, Envelopes, Labels, Directory. Click each option on the list to view descriptions. For this exercise, choose Letters.

2. Click Next to continue, then choose one of these three options: Use Current Document, Start from a Template, or Start from Existing Document. When finished, click Next to continue.

Step 3: Select your recipients

1. The next window prompts you to select recipients. You can: Use an Existing List, Select from Outlook Contacts, or Type a New List. Since we added custom fields to our database and expect to add more in the future, we're using an existing list from our Excel database. Click the first option, then click Browse.

2. Select your database from the Select Data Source dialog window, click Open, then choose the applicable table from the Select Table dialog window, Click OK.

NOTE: Confused? Excel files open on Sheet1 with additional tabs for Sheet2 and Sheet3. Excel calls these tables. When we saved the imported CSV file in Excel (as an .xlsx file), Excel used the filename (5-15-15 Contact List.xlsx) for the first tab (or table). So, choose the table called 5-15-15 Contact List.

3. Word displays the selected database in the Mail Merge Recipients window. As indicated by the instructions, use the options in the bottom panel to make changes and/or refine your database before you merge it with your document. When finished, click OK. Then click Next to continue.

Step 4: Insert an address block

1. The traditional letter format includes the date, contact information for both sender and receiver, plus a greeting. In our example, the sender's contact information is printed on the corporate letterhead, followed by the date. To insert the recipient's contact info, position your cursor two lines below the date and select Address Block from the Write Your Letter window pane.

2. The Insert Address Block dialog opens with options for how the address block is displayed on this document. Check the boxes that apply and select a name format from the list. Notice the Preview pane on the right displays how your Address Block will appear on your letter. If the Postal Address is checked, but not displayed in the Preview pane on the right, click the Match Fields button to help Word find the missing fields.

 

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