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The Easiest Way to Create a Mail Merge in Microsoft Word

When you need to print letters or send emails to many clients, customers or employees, you can do it quickly using a mail merge. With Microsoft Word’s Mail Merge Wizard, you can set it up in minutes.

A mail merge allows you to compose the base of the message, insert the names and create all the letters at the same time. The cool part of Word’s Mail Merge Wizard is that you can use an existing list or create one on the fly. You can also customize different parts of the letter and use merge for labels or envelopes in addition to emails and letters.

Create a mail merge in Word

With the popularity of sending professional emails, as opposed to physical letters, let’s take an example of creating an email blast. Open a Microsoft Word document and write your message.

When you’ve finished your message and are ready to create the merge, navigate to the Mailings tab. Use the Start Mail Merge drop-down arrow to select “Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard”.

Start Mail Merge for Access Wizard in Word

You’ll see an open sidebar on the right that guides you through the mail merge process. Check the Email Messages option at the top and click “Next: Start Document” at the bottom.

Types of documents for a mail merge

Next, choose the Use Current Document option. If you want to start fresh with a template or from another document, choose this option instead.

Click “Next: Select Recipients” at the bottom of the sidebar.

Document types for a mail merge in Word

Add recipients

You can now select your recipient list or create one with the following options.

RELATED: How to Create Mailing Labels in Word from an Excel List

Use an existing list: Choose this option and click “Browse” to locate your file. When it opens in Word, you’ll see a box where you can narrow down your list if you want. Sort, filter, find duplicates or validate addresses. You can also use checkboxes to select and deselect recipients.

Options for refining the existing recipient list

Select from Outlook Contacts: Check this option and click “Choose Contacts Folder” to choose the folder. You will then see the contacts in that folder appear in a box like above where you can narrow down your list.

Outlook Contact Folder Options

Type a new list: Choose this option, then click “Create” to enter recipient details in the pop-up window. You can use any of the fields you like and customize the columns.

New list creation window

After selecting your recipients, click “Next: Compose your email message” at the bottom of the sidebar.

Complete your message

You can then choose from the blocks you see to add recipient details to your message.

Blocks available for a mail merge

Address block: Place your cursor in the document where you want the address block. Next, choose a format for recipient names, whether you want to include a company name or mailing address, and other location details.

You’ll see a preview of each recipient on the right, and you can use the arrows at the top to move around and review them. If something is missing, click “Match Fields” to fix it.

Address block format options

Click “OK” when finished. You will see the Address Block variable in your document in the location you selected.

Address Block Variable in Word

Greeting line: Place your cursor in the document where you want to place the greeting line. Select a salutation and format for the salutation line as well as a default for invalid recipient names. Preview each using the down arrows and box.

Greeting line format options

Click “OK” when you’re done and you’ll see the Greeting Line variable in your document.

Greeting line variable in Word

Electronic postage: If electronic postage software is installed on your computer, select this option and follow the instructions.

More articles: To add other fields such as phone numbers or additional address lines, place your cursor in the document where you want the fields, choose this option and fill in the details. Click “Insert” or “Match Fields” to finish.

Other mail merge fields available

To remove any of the items you added, simply select the variable and delete it from the document.

Select “Next: Preview your emails” at the bottom of the sidebar.

Preview and send emails

You will then see a preview of the letter with the variables filled in with your recipient details. Use the arrows in the sidebar to preview each message. To make changes to your recipients, select “Edit recipient list” or to go back and edit the document, use the links for steps at the bottom of the sidebar.

Mail merge preview

When you’re done, click “Next: Complete the merge”, then select “Email” to complete the To, Subject and Format details of the mail. Optionally, you can send only to certain recipients. Click “OK” to send the emails via Outlook.

Mail fields input box

Other types of direct mail documents

If you choose another mail merge type in Word, you will see only slight differences with the wizard.

Letters and Directory: You can add the same details as for emails, but at the end you can print or edit the individual letters or send the directory to a new document.

Envelopes and labels: You can choose from different options such as envelope size, label type and font. Then print your envelopes or labels.

You can create a mail merge in Microsoft Word from scratch for emails, letters, envelopes or labels using the Mailings tab. But for the easiest way to set up a merge in Word, check out the Mail Merge Wizard.