Monthly Archives: February 2011

E-mail Merge In Word

E-mail merge in Word allows you to send personalised e-mails to recipients in your address list. Each message has similar information, yet the content of each message is unique. For example, in e-mails to your customers, each message can be personalised to address each customer by name. The unique information in each message is taken from contact information stored elsewhere in places like an Access database or an Excel spreadsheet.

With e-mail merge, each e-mail message is a separate mailing where each recipient is the sole recipient of each message. This gives a different effect than merely adding multiple e-mail addresses to the CC or BCC fields of the e-mail, in which case recipients know that they are not the only one to receive this email.

There are some pre-requisites for using e-mail merge in Word:

  • you must use a MAPI-compatible e-mail program. Outlook is OK for this.
  • you must use the same versions of Outlook and Word. So, Word 2010 and Outlook 2010 work together fine.
  • You cannot add recipients to the Cc (Carbon copy) line. Each recipient receives a copy of the message by being addressed on the To line of the message.

The E-Mail Merge Process

The e-mail merge consists of the following steps:

  1. Create the e-mail message in Word
  2. Connect the e-mail document to your list of contacts
  3. Add mail merge fields to the e-mail document
  4. Preview and complete the merge

Create The E-Mail Message In Word

This step consist of typing out the message that you want to send out to your contacts. This document can consist of text and pictures. Go to the Mailings tab and click Start Mail Merge (in the Start Mail Merge group). Select E-Mail Messages.
E-mail messages

The layout of the page will now look a little different as you are working in web layout. Type out your message using any headings and graphics you think you need.

Connect The E-Mail Document To Your List Of Contacts

Now you need to connect your document to a data source that contains a list of your e-mail contacts. If you don’t already have a list of contacts, you can create one as part of the e-mail merge process. If you’re using a data file, it must include a heading titled E-mail address.

Click Select Recipients on the Mailings tab (in the Start Mail Merge group). For this example, we’re going to create a contact list as we go, so select Type New List. You can then add contacts using the form that opens. Your list is saved as a database (.mdb) file that you can reuse.
New Address List In Word

You are provided with quite a few columns, but you can add or remove any you want. For example, if you were interested only in adding details about first and last name an e-mail address, you would customise the form to look something like this:

New Address List - Customised

Pressing the tab key at the end of each line will create a new blank line for you to type into. When the list is complete, click OK. When the Save Address List window opens, give the list a name, find a place to save it and click Save. Notice that the list has a .mdb extension. You can use this list in future e-mail merges.

Add Mail Merge Fields To The E-Mail Document

Now that the e-mail document has been written, and the contact list has been defined, we can start substituting in personal information relating to each recipient. Any field that appears in the contact form we filled out earlier can be added.

Word makes it easy to insert standard blocks of text like greeting lines and address blocks by providing corresponding command buttons for them. We can also insert individual fields from our contact list by using the Insert Merge Field command.

We’ll create the greeting line manually to get a feel for how the Insert Merge Field command works. Position the cursor in the document where you want the greeting to go and type “Dear “. Then click the bottom half of the Insert Merge Field button. Select First Name.

Insert Merge Field In Word

The field will appear like this in your document:

Dear First Name

Repeat this process for any other personal information you want to use in the e-mail.

Preview And Complete The Merge

Once you’ve finished adding the merge fields, you can preview the merge results and then complete the merge. The preview allows you to make changes before sending out the final email. Go to the Preview Results group of the Mailings tab and click Preview Results. Any merge fields you added to your document will display real data from your contact list.

You can use the controls in the Preview Results group to step through each contact in your list.

Preview Results Of The Mail Merge

If you are happy with the way the preview looks, click Finish & Merge > Send E-Mail Messages.

In the To box, select the name of the field that stores recipients’ e-mail address.

Merge To Email

In the Subject line box, type a subject line for the message. In the Mail format box, click HTML or Plain text to send the document as the body of the e-mail message, or click Attachment to send the document as an attachment. Click OK to send your emails!

Resignation Letter Sample

There may come a day when you feel that you’ve outgrown your current place of work. Or perhaps you simply get a better job offer elsewhere. Before you can start working your notice (if indeed you need to give some notice), you need to submit your resignation letter. If you’ve never written a resignation letter before, the prospect may seem daunting.

“So long and thanks for all the free photo-copies” doesn’t quite cut it. But then you don’t want to offer a 5 page essay on why your boss sure is going to miss you when you’re gone. Also, in case you need to work there again at some point in the future, you shouldn’t burn your bridges with scathing insults and hometruths.

Thank heavens for this resignation letter sample!

Needs will vary with your circumstances, but you should find this resignation letter a good starting point. You can use it as a base and amend as you see fit.

Susan Smith
Smart Web Media
Solaris Business Park
WA15 6LX

Dear Mrs Smith

I write to inform you of my decision to leave my current position as analyst programmer for Smart Web Media.

I have very much enjoyed my tenure with Smart Web Media, first as a member of the help desk and then as a member of the development team. As my wife and I have decided to move closer to our family in Barbados, I must depart from my post with the company.

My time with Smart Web Media has allowed me to develop both professionally and personally, and I am greatly appreciative. It is my hope that I have served the company well in return for everything I have gained. I wish you and all my colleagues the best of fortune in all future endeavours.


John Allerton

The Data Document In A Mail Merge

There are two parts to a mail merge in Microsoft Word: the data document and the data source. The data document defines how the finished document (the mail merge) will look, and includes layout and styling. The data source holds all the data that is placed into the finished document, such as names and addresses.

There are two kinds of data document. For the first kind, each data record in your data source will create its own document. For example, if you were mailing a press release to all your customers, each customer would get one document. The second kind of data document includes information from multiple records in the data source, all in the same document. Think of catalogues and directories as being examples of this kind.

When you start the Mail Merge process, you need to decide what kind of data document you are working with. Click the Mailings tab and then click Start Mail Merge.

Start Mail Merge

Letters, e-mail messages, and envelopes use one record per output document, while labels and directories use multiple records for each output document.

After you’ve chosen what kind of data document to create, you will need to select what your data source is. To keep things simple, we’re going to use an Excel spreadsheet that holds a list of customers and their details, namely:

  • first name
  • last name
  • address line 1
  • address line 2
  • town
  • county
  • postcode

The spreadsheet looks something like this:

Customers Spreadsheet

Click to enlarge

Click Select Recipients in the Start Mail Merge group (on the Mailings tab). Because we already have data prepared in our Excel spreadsheet, we’ll select Use Existing List.

Use Existing List - Mail Merge

Find the spreadsheet, select it and then click Open. In the next window, select what sheet in the workbook your data is in. Click OK. It looks like this action has done nothing, but actually Word has detected what data is in the spreadsheet and has made available the Insert Merge Field command button in the Write & Insert Fields group. If you now click that, you can select from the list of data columns in the spreadsheet. Whatever field you select will be inserted into your data document where the cursor is positioned.

For example, you might want to use the “Dear” salutation in your letter, followed by the customer’s first name.

Dear First Name

The mail merge tools in Word are quite powerful, and include such facilities as being able to insert address blocks, defining how the salutation line looks, etc. We’ll cover those in more depth in later tutorials, but for now just get a feel for how the data document works. Basically, you are structuring your document and inserting fields from your spreadsheet (or other data source) in the right place.

When you have finished preparing your data document, it’s time to perform the mail merge itself. Clicking on the Finish & Merge command in the Finish group presents three options.

Finish And Merge In Word

When you choose one of the selections, the data document you’ve prepared is merged with the actual data in the spreadsheet. Real data from your spreadsheet is placed in all the places where you inserted a merge field.