Mail Merge
Send a letter to several recipients

A Webtask for adult learners

If you are not familiar with Word, please complete the Word Webtasks at

Read over your rubrics (self-evaluation) for this task before you go on. Click on the arrow, and use the BACK button on your browser to return to this page. (Use the BACK button to return to this page)

The Mail Merge tool in Word can make life easier for you in several ways. Let's say that you want to send the same basic letter to several people. However,  you want some parts changed each time. Let's say you want to print mailing lables, create address lists, distribute personalized handouts, or send multiple emails to several people. Use Mail Merge.

In the Task, you will write a short letter to send to several people. You will use Mail Merge to change the addresses and greetings in each letter. You will also print envelopes with addresses to different people who will get your letter.

Definitions to Get You Started

Database - A collection or a group of related information (data). The data is recorded in a table with columns and rows that form cells. 

For example, if you want to create an address list of your friends, you will first enter the information for each friend into different rows and cells. After that, you can find that information by searching all last names, or first names, or cities, or phones, or any other way you want. If you completed the Access WebTasks, you learned a lot about databases. 

Field - A defined type of column in a table that contains specific information, like FIRST NAME, LAST NAME, PHONE . [Notice the fields defined in the table above.]

Record - The specific data entered in each row. In the fields mentioned above, the record for FIRST NAME might be Dan. The record for LAST NAME might be Morgan.

Cell - the small spaces where a field and a record meet.

When you want to send a letter to several people using Mail Merge, you will have to open or create a list, or a database. That list will have all of the information about your people. You will create a list, or small database with several fields: Title, Last Name, First Name, Street or Postal Code, City, State and Zip Code. You can create that list in Word. You can add, delete, or ignore any fields you don't want to use. For example, if your list had everyone's phone number, you would ignore that field in your letters.

Look at the database below for an international business. It has fields for Contact name, Street Address, City, Postal Code and Country.

It has 11 records for its customers, one in each column.

Activity 1- Open a Word document, write a letter and save it.

STEP 1: Open a new document in Word. Save it to your folder on your computer as "yourinitialsmerge1.doc" For example, Joe Jones would save his document as jjmerge1.doc.

STEP 2: Write the following letter in your document. Do not enter anyone's name or address, yet.

I have just started my own pottery and framing business, The Earthwood Shop. I'm very excited! I hope you will come by and celebrate with me during my opening day, June 22nd. 

I would love to share some coffee, soda, snacks and cookies with you  while you look at some of the art on the tables and shelves.

Please drop by and say "hello" on Tuesday, June 22nd, from 10 AM to 4 PM. I'll be waiting at 9876 North Crafter Street, Next to the Art Museum. Bring a friend and have a good time!

Jody Earthtone 
The Earthwood Shop


Activity 2- Open an address list and enter information for each person in your letter. 

STEP 1: With your letter still on the screen, go to TOOLS -> LETTERS AND MAILINGS -> MAIL MERGE WIZARD

STEP 2:A new window or panel will appear. Under "Select Document Type," click the "Letters" option. 

STEP 3:Click on the Next: Starting Document link at the bottom.

STEP 4: Under "Select Starting Document," click on "Use Current Document (Your letter)

STEP 5: Click on "Next: Select Recipients" in Step 3.

STEP 4: Under "Select Recipients," select "Type New List," then click on the "Create" link below.

The window that opens in Word, lets you create your own database in Word. 

Notice the entry fields that you can fill in. Also, notice the "Customize" button on the right. 

STEP 5: In this task, you want entry blanks for Title, First Name, Last Name, Street Address, City, State, and Zip Code. If the form on your computer shows different fields, or entry blanks, you must change the entries. Click the "Customize" button. 

Notice your choices. Make sure that you add, delete, or move items until you have only the following entries. When you finish, click "CLOSE."

STEP 6: Make sure you are on your first entry. 

Now enter all of the information below for each record. When you finish the first record, Click New Entry to enter your second record. If you make a mistake, go back to that entry and make the correction. You can also delete and re-enter entries.

Enter the following information:

STEP 7: Under Step 3 of 6, click on Next: Write your Letter.

You have told Word that you wanted to merge addresses for your letter. You have written the letter. You have chosen the list of people (recipients) who will get your letter. 


Activity 3-  Select the parts you want Mail Merge to enter into each letter, review each letter, and merge! 

STEP 1: A new panel that opens after Step 3.  Now you are ready to tell Word what you want to change in each letter and where you want the information to go.

Go to your letter. Place your cursor at the beginning of the first word in the first paragraph. Enter twice. That will move your message two spaces down so that you can enter the addresses you want.

STEP 2: Place your cursor at the very top of the letter, at the beginning of the first space you entered. On the panel on the right, click on Address Block. You see a panel with choices. Select the choice you see below.

Click OK. You'll see the entry in your letter, surrounded by Chevron signs (>>). That's the place where Word will put each address from the list.

STEP 3: Enter twice from the end of the closing Chevron sign. That will give you two spaces before you enter the Greeting you want.

Click on GREETING LINE in the right hand panel, and select the greeting you see below.

Click OK, and you'll see the greeting line entered. It is surrounded by two Chevron signs (>>). That is where the greeting line (Dear....) will go with the name of each person.





STEP 4: At the bottom of the right-hand panel, click on "Next: Preview your letters." Notice that your letter now has the name, address, and greeting for your first entry. 

To check all recipients, go to the top of the panel, and click through the recipient list using the little Chevron signs. >>


Activity 4 - Complete the process by clicking on "Complete the Merge," and "Print," to print each letter for each person on your list. NOTE: Don't forget to sign each letter that you send out.

Write your name on the page, date, and print the first letter in the mail merge and place it in your portfolio. Write your name, date, and pring.

GO TO READING/WRITING ACTIVITY (Use the BACK button to return to this page)

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Complete the Rubrics, print and date the Rubrics page, and place it in your folder.

Congratulations! You have completed your task!

Funded by the Colorado Department of Education through the Cortez Adult Education Program. All rights reserved.
ŠUnlimited Learning, 2004

Leecy Wise, author