Mailing in MS Word

helpfinderIT Consultant
I would like to show you some basics you can do with Mailings in MS Word. It´s quite handy feature you can use for creating envelopes, labels, personalized letters etc.

First question could be what is this feature good for? Mailing can really help you and save a lot of time when you are working with some database and data from this database has to be placed in some document. In this way you can create, let say, rule how and which data will be used.

Because I really like to explain on examples from real word, not a theory, I do it also now. There is a database of customers I want to wish Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, because they are top customers. I will send them a letter, but I do not like to write Dear Sir/Madame, I want to be more personal so I will write their names. This I can do manually – copy/paste – what could be good way, but not in case I have 100 customers like that, or 1000 (if I am a big company), so there is a place for Mailing.

So what I need to do, basically 2 things:
•      Write a letter
•      Database (e.g. in excel)

Word text

I will write the letter as normally I do, except words which won't be "static", in this case name and surname will be such a dynamic words. See sample:
As you can see there is a part of letter where company is sending to customer, but there is missing name and surname next to "Dear". These 2 words will be added from database and will be changed dynamically.


In this example it will be Excel table (which is very common type of DB, I guess) where are just 2 columns – Name and surname, see on the picture

Now we can start to merge these two documents. In Word go to Mailings tab and click Select Recipients>Use Existing List … (because we have our own DB)

Then just browse your DB and click Open
Another window appears, which asks you in which sheet in this excel is your table (in my case it is in Sheet1)

When you confirm sheet by OK it seems nothing happens, because there is no change in the document – visually. By these steps you connected Word with the database and you can work with it in next steps. This also enables more options in Mailing tab which were greyed out before

Now, finally, we can define Name and Surname fields to the letter. It's a simple process, place the cursor where this Name and Surname should come and insert the fields – easy to say, but I will show you. After "Dear" word I do space and insert field for name by clicking Insert Merge field > Name
As you can see there are two options – Name and Surname – so this is a list of words from excel table headers. Click Name, put space and with the same procedure add also Surname. Result looks like this

And basically that's it. You can switch between "code" and real words with Preview Results button
So with pressed Preview Results it will show you first record from the excel database

If you want to see next records just click Next/Previous records represented with blue arrows, or type number you want to jump on
At the end you will probably want to print these letters. For this action press Finish & Merge button and choose Print documents ...

You can choose if you want to print letter for each record in database (All), only the one you see (Current record) or range (From-To)

Then just choose printer and that´s it.

This is how mailing works in MS Word. But I would like to show some also something advanced. I will stay with this example, just expand database with gender. This would be useful if you want to write Mr. or Mrs, based on gender. Database is like

Again I will broswe for excel database and you can see Gender appears in the list

So Word has now connection with updated database and can read also Gender data. But how to tell Word to use "Dear Mr." if man, and "Dear Mrs." If woman? For this we have Rules field in Mailing tab

And suitable option under Rules in this case is "If ... Then ... Else ..."

Place your cursor next to "Dear" and choose "If ... Then ... Else ..." Rule. Table with contitions appears. Choose propriate Field name (in our example Gender), Comparison (in our example Equal to) and Compare to (in our example M). Then fulfill text which will be added if the conditions are correct (in our example Mr.) and another text if they are not (in our example Mrs.). See also on the picture

Then you click OK, and when you will switch record by record not only name and surname will change, but also Mr./Mrs.

Of course you can format also these "dynamic" fields in the same way as normal text in Word, so you can set color, font, font size, bold etc
This is not everything Mailings in Word can do, at least you see how many rules are available and each can do something. This tutorial wants to be a start point, to show you how to use this feature in MS Word.

- helpfinder -
helpfinderIT Consultant

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