© Flinders University – Centre for Educational ICT
WHAT IS MAIL MERGE?
Have you ever had to send several letters that were similar (if not identical) to several people? If so, you
probably created one letter, printed it, then changed the address and other details, printed this version, and
so on until you had your batch of documents for mailing.
Mail merge is a way of bringing together your one letter and a list of mail recipients to create all the individual
You use mail merge when you want to create a set of documents that are essentially the same but where
each document contains unique elements. For example, in a letter that announces a new product, your
company logo and the text about the product will appear in each letter, and the address and greeting line will
be different in each letter.
Using mail merge, you can create:
A set of labels or envelopes: The return address is the same on all the labels or envelopes, but the
destination address is unique on each one.
A set of form letters, e-mail messages, or faxes: The basic content is the same in all the letters,
messages, or faxes, but each contains information that is specific to the individual recipient, such as
name, address, or some other piece of personal data.
A set of numbered coupons: The coupons are identical except that each contains a unique number.
Creating each letter, message, fax, label, envelope, or coupon individually would take hours. That's where
mail merge comes in. Using mail merge, all you have to do is create one document that contains the
information that is the same in each version. Then you just add some placeholders for the information that is
unique to each version. Word takes care of the rest.
Steps in Creating a Merge
Whatever type of document you intend to produce, you need to execute these steps:
Develop the main document with any required standard text
Create or access some source of data – the merge list – and link it to the main document
Insert merge fields in the main document
Merge the two documents to a new (third) document or to a printer