Mail Merge
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Mail Merge

What You Will Learn

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:


(Word 2000-2003) Open and Identify the Key Components of the Mail Merge Task Pane


(Word 2007-2019 (365)) Identify Components of the Mailings Tab


Use the Mail Merge Wizard


Create a Data Source and Form Letter Using the Mail Merge Wizard


Skip parts of your merge if a field is empty


Create a Label Merge Using Outlook Contacts


Create and Save a Word Table as a Data Source


Handle Page X of Y header/footer numbering


Troubleshoot mixed data types from Excel


Handle Page Numbering in a Completed Merge Document

Additional Written and Web Resources

bullet Word for Law Firms and Lawyers
bullet Word 97 for Law Firms (also at UK)
bullet Word 2000 for Law Firms (also at UK)
bullet Word X (2002) for Law Firms (also at UK)
bullet Word 2003 for Law Firms (also at UK)
bullet Word 2013 for Law Firms by Payne Consulting Group

The Lawyer's Guide to Microsoft Word 2007 by Ben M. Schorr


The Lawyer's Guide to Microsoft Word 2010 by Ben M. Schorr


Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010 for Law Professionals Unveiling the Rules and Secrets of Legal Word Processing by Patricia Gordon and KAS Training

bullet other books about using Word

This chapter in Word format. (unsupplemented)

bulletMicrosoft MailMerge Resource Center - MS site
bulletData Sources
bullet Data Sources You Can Use for a Mail Merge
bullet Prepare Your Excel Data Source for a Mail Merge
bullet Set Up a New Mail Merge List With Word
bullet Use Outlook Contacts as a Data Source
bullet Mail Merge Using an Excel Spreadsheet
bullet Use Mail Merge for Bulk Email, Letters, Labels, and Envelopes
bullet Sort and Filter Data for a Mail Merge
bulletDocument Types
bullet Letters
bullet Email Messages
bullet Envelopes
bullet Labels
bulletFields and Rules
bullet Mail Merge Fields
bullet Set the Rules for a Mail Merge
bulletCindy Meister's Articles from Office Developer (now OfficeVBA) Magazine:
bullet Word Fields Part I : Automate Word Documents With Minimum Code
bullet Word Fields Part II : Numbering Conundrums
bullet Mail Merge - Part I - Introduction and Data Integration
bullet Mail Merge - Part II - Employing Word's Field and Formatting Capabilities
bullet Cindy Meister's Mail Merge FAQ
bullet Mail Merge FAQ - MVP site
bulletVideos on Mail Merge from Microsoft - for Word 2013 but applicable to all Ribbon versions, useful for earlier versions as well
bullet Intro to Mail Merge - Using Mail Merge wizard, Intro with email merge from Outlook Contacts, Letter merges, Creating database, envelopes
bullet Take Mail Merge to the Next Level - Mail Merge without the Wizard, Previewing, Adding Custom Merge Fields, Comment Fields, Directory Mail Merge
bullet Advanced Mail Merge - field codes, formulae, and conditional statements, filters, SKIPIF fields
bullet How to Create A Mail Merge by Beth Melton, MVP and Dave Rado, MVP 
bullet Creating a Mail Merge Data Source by Beth Melton, MVP (includes using Excel and Access)
bullet Mail merge emails -
bullet Mail Merge to email with Attachments - by Doug Robbins, MVP - see also:
bullet Merge Tools by Doug Robbins, MVP
bullet Merge Many To One by Graham Mayor, MVP
bullet How to Convert Addresses Into a Mail Merge Data Source by Beth Melton, MVP and Dave Rado, MVP
bullet Individual Merge Letters by Graham Mayor, MVP
bullet Mail Merge in Word 2007-2013 by Graham Mayor, MVP - especially useful to someone transitioning from earlier versions of Word.
bullet Document Splitter by Greg Maxey - addin to break document into component documents
bullet MailMerge Graphics by Graham Mayor, MVP
bullet Using Address Blocks and Greeting Lines in Word 2010 (video)
bullet Making Your MailMerge Intelligent using IF Fields by Dave Rado, MVP
bullet Turning Word into a Pseudo-Database Using Mail Merge Query Options by Dave Rado, MVP
bullet Word mail merge: A walk through the process - Microsoft tutorial 2003
bullet How to use Mail Merge to create a list sorted by category - Microsoft KB 294686
bullet Mail Merge [for Dummies] in Word 2013
bulletMailMerge Links
bullet Doug Robbins' Merge Tools - Doug Robbins, MVP
bullet MailMerge with an Excel Spreadsheet - Microsoft
bullet Frequently Asked Questions about MailMerge - Microsoft
bullet Word 2007 MailMerge Tutorial - Microsoft
bullet Catalogue/Directory Mailmerge Tutorial by Paul Edstein (macropod) 2013
bullet Mailmerge Tips and Tricks by Paul Edstein (macropod) Because I feel that this is so important, I list below some of the topics covered
bulletMailmerge Data Format Problems
bulletTest  Whether a Text Mergedield Conains Numeric Data
bulletConvert Mailemerge Date Fields to Plain Text
bulletManaging Mailmerge Graphics
bulletMailmerge Hyperlink 'Click Here' Insertion
bulletConditionally Merge Spouse Data
bulletMerge Multiple Fields, Using Commas and 'And'
bulletMailmerge CheckBox Insertion
bulletMailmerge String Formatting
bulletMailmerge Number & Currency Formatting
bulletForce '0' Substitution for Empty/Missing Records
bulletBasic Mailmerge Maths
bulletDealing With Null Values in Mailmerge Arithmetic
bulletMailmerge Percentage Formatting
bulletMailmerge Phone Number Formatting
bulletMailmerge Date Formatting and Calculations
bulletMailmerge Time Formatting
bulletMailmerge US Social Security Number, Zip Code and and Phone Number Formatting
bulletMailmerge String Testing
bulletMailmerge Empty Space / Line Suppression
bulletConditionally Format Mailmerge Output
bulletConditionally Shade Table Cells
bulletCatalog/Directory Malimerge to Label Stationery
bulletSuppress Output on Unused Labels in a Label Merge
bulletSend Mailmerge Output to Individual Files
bulletSplit Merged Output Document to Separate Documents
bulletConvert Text Representations of Fields to Working Fields
bullet Use the Ribbon and Perform a Complex Mailmerge Tutorial - Microsoft Tutorial 2007
bullet Formatting Mailmerge Fields - Office for Mere Mortals
bullet Formatting Numbers in Mailmerge Fields - Haverford
bullet Microsoft Word 2010 Bible by Herb Tyson, MVP
bullet Using Mailmerge by Category - Paul Edstein
bulletDifferent Kinds of Data in One Field - short note


Mail Merge Overview

CK Note: This chapter is written for Word 2002-2003 users and will be of limited value to people using earlier versions of Word (although the mailmerge feature has been in Word since at least Word Version 2). For those using earlier versions, I would suggest checking the web resources listed above. Mailmerge in Word 2007 and later has the same steps but in a different interface. See Graham Mayor's article.

Mail Merge is a feature used to create form letters, labels, envelopes, e-mail messages and directories. In order to perform a mail merge, two items are required – a main document and a valid data source. In Word, a valid data source can be created from many different types of files, but the most commonly used are Word files (.doc), Excel files (.xls), Access files (.mdb), comma delimited files (.csv) and Outlook Address Books (.pab). Using the new Mail Merge Wizard, you can merge any of these file types with a new or existing main document to complete a merge quickly and easily. For legal users, one of the biggest improvements made to Word 2002's mail merge feature is the integration of ODMA standards. If you work in a firm that uses document management, you can now open and insert both the data source and the main document directly from within the DMS. Gone are the days of having to 'check out' the data source prior to running the merge.

Mailings Tab (Word 2007-2019 (365))

In Word 2007 and later versions the mail merge task pane is supplanted by the Mailings Tab. That is shown below. The task pane, itself, can be accessed under the Start Mail Merge button (Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard).

Users of Word 2007-2019 may want to take a look at Mousetraining's manuals or Herb Tyson's Word Bible book (see above). See also Graham Mayor's page. All of the tools shown below are also available in the later versions, but accessed through the Ribbon interface.

Mail Merge Task Pane

The Mail Merge Task Pane is just one of several task panes new to Word 2002. Task panes are designed to make working with specific features in Word easier and more efficient, and the Mail Merge Task Pane is no exception.

The Mail Merge Task Pane contains the Mail Merge Wizard and can be opened from the Tools menu by choosing Letters and Mailings and selecting Mail Merge Wizard.

Practice: Opening the Mail Merge Task Pane

1.         Create a new document.

2.         (Word 2002-2003) From the Tools menu, choose Letters and Mailings and select Mail Merge Wizard. (Word 2007-2019 (365)) Select the Mail Merge Wizard under the Start Mail Merge button.

Figure 1 –Mail Merge has changed significantly in Word 2002. Follow each step of the Mail Merge wizard to easily create merged documents.

Mail Merge Wizard

The Mail Merge Wizard is a tool designed to help make using Word's mail merge feature more interactive and intuitive. The Wizard consists of six steps that lead you through the entire merge process. Each step in the process requires you to make a decision that affects the option set displayed in the Mail Merge Task Pane. Steps 1-6 are listed below:

·        Step 1 – Select a Document Type. Choose the type of document you'll be merging with the data source. The choices include: Letters, E-mail messages, Envelopes, Labels, and Directories.

·        Step 2 – Select Starting Document. Select the main document. The choices include: Current Document (document in active window), Start from a Template (open the Template dialog box and choose one of Word's built-in templates or a custom template), or Start from an Existing Document (open the default document folder or navigate to a document folder and select a main document).

·        Step 3 – Select Recipients. Choose the type of data source you'll be using for the merge. Choices include: Use an Existing List (an existing data source saved to a local folder or document management system), Select from Outlook Contacts (use names and addresses from the Outlook Contacts folder), Type a New List (create a new data source -.mdb file - using Word's data form).

·        Step 4 – Create Main Document. Type the body of the main document and insert the merge fields in the appropriate spots. The choices for this step vary depending on the type of main document you're creating and include: Write Your Letter, Write Your E-Mail Message, Arrange Your Envelope, Arrange Your Labels, and Arrange Your Directory.

·        Step 5 – Preview the Main Document. Preview the main document with the merge fields inserted prior to merging.

·        Step 6 – Merge the main document with the data source to create the final merge document.

Mail Merge Wizard microsoft word 2010


Figure 2

In Word 2007 - 2019 the mail merge task pane is available as a choice under the Start Merge button on the Mailings tab. It is labeled as the "Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard."








Use the Mail Merge Wizard to Create a Form Letter

You can use the Mail Merge Wizard to merge an existing data source with an existing main document, or you can start from scratch. Once you've created a data source, you can save it, add to it, and use it again and again to create merged letters, labels, envelopes, or any other type of document you frequently create, such as stock certificates.


Note: All of the examples in the following exercises use local Windows folder management techniques to save and open documents. If your firm uses a document management system, you can still follow along using the save/open procedures specific to your document management system.


Practice: Creating a Form Letter and Data Source Using the Mail Merge Wizard

1.         Create a new document.

2.         (Word 2007 and later) On the Mailings Tab, click on the Start Mail Merge Button (menu) and select "Step by Step Mailmerge Wizard."
(Word 2003 and earlier)
From the Tools menu, choose Letters and Mailings and choose Mail Merge Wizard to open the Mail Merge Task Pane.

3.         Under Select Document Type, choose Letters and click Next on the bottom of the task pane.

4.         Under Select Starting Document, choose Use the Current Document and click Next.

5.         Under Select Recipients, click the third option, Type a New List and then click Create. This will be the data source for the merged document.

Figure – You can remove any of the default merge fields contained in the New Address List as well as create any custom fields, where appropriate.

6.         In the New Address List dialog box, click Customize to remove some of the default merge fields from the list.

7.         Select and delete all of the merge fields except for First Name, Last Name, Address Line 1, City, State and Zip. (To do this, select the Field Name and click Delete.)

Figure 4 –Select a merge field and click Move Up or Move Down to change the order of the merge fields. Click Add to create a custom merge field.

8.         Click OK to close the dialog box.

Figure 5 –When you finish creating an entry, you can click New Entry to create another or press Enter.

9.         Create several entries. Fill in each field. Use the TAB key to move to the next field.


Tip: Use Shift+TAB to move to a previous field.

10.       Click Close to open the Save Address List dialog box. Navigate to C:\ My Documents (or save and profile it to your document management system).

11.       Name the list My Data and click Save. Word will save it as an .mdb file.

Figure – You can also create a file folder and name it My Data Sources as a place to keep your data files separate from all your other files.

12.       Click OK to close the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box and click Next at the bottom of the task pane to move to the next step in the process – Write Your Letter.

13.       Position the insertion point at the point in the letter where you want each recipient's address to appear, and in the task pane, click Address Block to insert merge field.

Figure 7 – The Address Block merge field groups several merge fields into one main field. If you want more control over the insertion of merge fields, click More Items.

14.       Choose the appropriate format for the address block and click OK.

Figure 8 – Browse through each of the options in the Insert Address Block dialog box to choose the formatting that is most appropriate for your document.

15.       Press Enter twice and then click Greeting Line.

Figure – Choose a casual or formal greeting line format.

16.       Choose an appropriate Greeting Line format and click OK.

17.       Click Next to Preview the letter.

Figure – The Merge fields are shaded in gray. Click View Merged Data on the Mail Merge toolbar to toggle between the field codes and the field results.

18.       Under Preview Your Letters, click the double-arrows to move between recipients. You can also click Edit Recipient List to add or remove recipients.

19.       Type the body of the letter and then click Next to complete the merge.

20.       Click Print to Merge and print all of the records simultaneously, or click Edit Individual Letters to merge without printing. This allows you to review the final document before printing.

Figure 11 – The merged document will appear in a new document window. You can print and save it, or print without saving.

21        Click OK to complete the merge.

Figure 12 – The merge document in Print Layout view. Each entry is separated by a Next Page section break.

22.       The merge document appears as a separate file. Each record is separated by a Next Page Section break.

For more on creating a data source directly for Word see Creating a Mail Merge Data Source by Beth Melton, MVP.

Skip Parts If a Field is Blank

Often it will be possible that multiple people are to be addressed or an address has multiple lines, but not always. When you finish the merge, you do not want it to be obvious that you left space for them. This is accomplished using an IF Field. The examples below show field delimiters { } which will look like { MERGEFIELD FNAME1 } rather than <<FNAME1>>. You get to see these using Alt+F9 to toggle display of field codes. Remember to toggle back when done!

Example 1: 2 names either or both of which may be present


Translation: If name 1 is empty then name2; if name 1 has content then name 1 and if name 2 is not empty name 1 and name 2.

Example 2: Possible second address line



(The "¬" represents a manual line break (Shift+Enter).)

You cannot do this using the Interface and dialogs. You can start with a field and edit or you can write it using the Ctrl+F9 shortcut to insert pairs of field delimiters. Remember to use Alt+F9 to toggle display of field codes back to show results!


Create a Merge Using Outlook Contacts

One of the benefits of storing contact information in Outlook is being able to use it as a data source for different types of merges. Outlook contacts constitute a ready-made data source and can be merged to create form letters, envelopes, labels and directories. You can even use the e-mail field in each Outlook contact to create a form e-mail.

Practice: Using Outlook Contact Data to Create a Label Merge

1.         Create a new document.

2.         From the Tools menu, choose Letters and Mailings and select Mail Merge Wizard.

3.         In the Mail Merge Task Pane, click Labels and then move to the bottom of the window and click Next.

4.         In the next pane under Change Document Layout, click Label Options.

5.         In the Label Options dialog box, select Avery 5162 under Product Number and click OK.

Figure – Choose any of the labels from the Product Number list or click New Label to create a custom label size.

6.         Click Next – Select Recipients to move to Step 3.

7.         Under Select Recipients, click Select from Outlook Contacts.

8.         From Select from Outlook Contacts, click Choose Contacts Folder.

Figure 14 – Word will 'grab' the address information stored in your Outlook Contact folder to complete the label merge.

9.         Select the appropriate Contacts folder (the default is Contacts) and click OK. Click OK to close the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box.

10.       Click Next to move to Step 4 – Arrange Your Labels.

11.       In the next task pane, click Address Block to insert the address information from your contacts folder into the Label sheet.

Figure – Select an address format appropriate for the type of label you are creating.

12.       Click OK.

13.       From under Replicate Labels, click Update All Labels.

Figure 16 – Click More Items to insert only the merge fields
appropriate for the type of labels you're creating.

14.       Click Next to move to Step 5 – Preview Your Labels.

15.       If you need to add or remove recipients from the Label sheet, click Edit Recipient List from Make Changes and make the appropriate changes.

16.       Click Next to move to Step 6 – Complete the Merge.

17.       Click Print to merge and print the labels. Click Edit Individual Labels to merge without printing.


Note: After editing individual labels, you can print using Word's Print dialog box.

Figure – You can print all records, the current record, or a range of records.

18.       Click OK.

Figure 18 – You can use any of the options on the Table menu or Tables and Border toolbar to align the text on the labels.

Create a Separate Data Source

You can create and use any number of different file types as valid data sources for a merge. One of the easiest to setup and maintain is a Word table. For example, you could use a table to create a data source containing the variable field information generally used in stock certificates. Once the data source is setup and saved, you can merge it with the stock certificate form to create stock certificates.

Practice: Saving a Word Table as a Data Source

1.         Create a new document.

2.         From the Table menu, choose Insert and select Table.

3.         Create a table with 4 columns and 2 rows. Click OK.


Note: If you need a refresher on creating or working with tables, read the section Using Tables in the Legal Environment.

4.         In the first cell of the first row, type Company. Press TAB to move to the next cell in the first row.

5.         Type Stock Type and press TAB.

6.         Type No. of Shares and press TAB to move to the last cell in the first row.

7.         Type Issue Date.

8.         Click in the first cell of the second row and type Microsoft and press TAB.

9.         Type Common, press TAB and type 1,000 and press TAB.

10.       Type 6/12/01 and press TAB to create a new row.

11.       From the File menu, choose Save to open the Save As dialog box. Navigate to C:\ My Documents (or profile and save the document to your document management system).

12.       In the File Name box, type Stock Certificate Data and click Save.

13.       Add as many records as you need to complete the data document. (You can always add additional entries later.)

14.       Save and close the document.

Practice: Using the Mail Merge Wizard to Create Stock Certificates


Note: This exercise assumes that you have an existing stock certificate form. If you do not have one, you will need to create one before you start this exercise or you can use a blank document.

1.         Open the stock certificate form you regularly use to create stock certificates. (Not the data source created in the preceding exercise but the form itself.)

2.         From the Tools menu, choose Letters and Mailings and Mail Merge Wizard to open the Mail Merge Task Pane.

3.         Under Select Document Type, select the default, Letters, and click Next at the bottom of the task pane to move to Step 2.

4.         In the next pane, choose Use the Current Document and click Next to move to Step 3.

5.         Select Use an Existing List from Select Recipients and then click Browse to open the Select Data Source dialog box.

6.         Navigate to the folder you saved the data source document to in the preceding exercise (or open it from the document management system).

7.         Select Stock Certificate.doc and click Open.

8.         Click OK to close the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box.

Figure 19 – Uncheck those records of the data document that you
don't wish to appear in the merge document.

9.         Click Next located at the bottom of the task pane to move to Step 4.

10.       Under Write Your Letter, click More Items to open the Merge Field dialog box.

Figure – Each column in the table header row appears as a unique merge field.

11.       Place the insertion point in the appropriate location in the stock certificate form. Select and insert each merge field.

12.       Click Next at the bottom of the task pane to move to Step 5.

13.       Preview the stock certificate(s), and if necessary, click Edit Recipient List to make add or remove recipients.

14.       Click Next to move to Step 6 – Complete the Merge.

15.       In the final task pane, click Print to merge and print or Edit Individual Letters to merge and print later.

16.       Click OK.


Note CK NOTE: Disconnecting a main document from data retaining last data used. You can disconnect a main merge document from a data source, leaving it filled in with the last data used, by changing it to a "Normal Word Document." In the latest versions of Word, this is done under the Start Mail Merge button on the Mailings Tab.



This is not part of the original chapter but is simply miscellaneous observations about problems that i have addressed.

Printing One Letter (document) in a completed merge document.

When you merge to a new document (letter or envelope merge) what you get is a document with multiple records and no merge fields, an ordinary Word document. Well, sort of. For those not familiar with the idea, each record is in a separate Section of the document. When you want to print this you need to specify the section and page rather than simply the pages. Pagination usually restarts with each record.

Sections / Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word (2003 and earlier)

Sections / Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word (Word 2007 and later)

My usual work-around is to go to the page I want to print and print the current page. This works, but is a pain if you have a number that need printing.

You can have Word report the section number in the Status bar.

Then, you need to tell the printer that you want that section(s) and page(s) printed.

Page x of y construction in the new document with multiple records

For Page x of y construction in general see page numbering in one of the chapters on Sections.

bulletSections / Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word (97-2003)
bulletSections / Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word (2007-2019)

When you merge to a new document with a letter merge, each record creates a new document Section in the single document that results. If you use the traditional Page x of y construction in your headers or footers you will end up with a total of all the pages as your "y" number. So, you want to change the { NUMPAGES } field in your header/footer to a { SECTIONPAGES } field instead. To toggle display of field codes you can use the keyboard shortcut Alt+F9.

Here is an screenshot from the header of a result document from a 5-page Main Document merged to 6 records.

If your Main Merge Document already has multiple sections, you would have to use Field math to construct your "y" number. See How to control the page numbering in a Word document by Bill Coan. A workaround is to simply type the number of pages in your Main Word Document as a number rather than a field. In the example shown above, the "y" would be a typed "5" rather than a field. This only works, though, if the number of pages is the same from each record. (This is usually the case.)

Mixed Data Types in one field.

I just learned (2013) that if you have different types of data in a field in different records it can be a problem if the change in type doesn't occur until after the first 8-16 records. In particular, if a field usually contains numeric data but occasionally has text, and if there is no text in the first records in that field, Word will interpret it all as numeric and return a blank or 0 as the value of text in later records. A solution is to use a dummy record at the beginning that has text in the field. This came up on the Microsoft Answers site. Another solution suggested by Paul Edstein is to use the DDE data connection method.

  This chapter from original Legal Users Guide to Microsoft Word 2002 - document in zip format

Microsoft Word Manual Users GuideCopyright 2000, Microsoft Corporation.
Copyright 2000-2002, 2004-2006, 2010-2019 Charles Kyle Kenyon
See information about copy permission.

Search Intermediate Users Guide to Microsoft Word Using Google                                            My office page as a Madison, Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Original Legal Users Guide to Microsoft Word 2002 - Documents in Zip Format

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