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Microsoft Word has always had two ways in which to complete a Mail Merge.  The the 6-step "Mail Merge Task Pane Wizard" or the Mailings Ribbon.    This document describes how to use the Mailings Ribbon.

If you were used to the Mail Merge Wizard you still have that option.  Click on the Mailings tab so the ribbon appears, click the Start Mail Merge dropdown menu and select the Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard.  This will place the 6 step Wizard as a task pane on the right hand side of the screen.  This has not changed and will walk you through step by step.

Note:  Excel Data Files:  Word does not automatically translate precentages, currency or postal codes from a Spreadsheet to Word Mail Merge.  From the File Menu, select Options.  Click Advanced and from the General section (second to the last section) , check the "Confirm file format conversion at open." 

Mailings Ribbon

Data Source

Edit Recipient List

Insert Merge Fields

Preview Results

Finish and Merge

Creating Labels

Creating Envelopes

Mail Merge to Email  

Printing Tip  

Mailings Ribbon

Envelopes and Labels

If you used the Envelopes and Labels feature in older versions of Word you will find this feature on the first grouping in the Mailings Ribbon under Create.  The dialog boxes have not changed it still picks up the inside address of a single letter.

Start Mail Merge

From the second grouping Start Mail Merge click the drop down to select the type of main document you will be creating: Letters, E-Mail messages, Envelopes, Labels or Directory.

Note:  Proper names and addresses are usually not found in the Dictionary, so Spelling and Grammar should be turned off before you begin to merge. To turn off the spell checker, from the Office Button/Word Options/Proofing. Remove the check mark in Check Spelling as you type and Check Grammar as you type.

  1. Open a previously typed letter or start a new blank document

  2. Click on the Start Mail Merge dropdown and select the appropriate document type.

    Note: If you opened a previously typed letter it will still be on the screen.  If you start with a blank page and choose Letters, E-Mail Message, or Directory, you still have a blank page to begin the letter or message.

    If you choose Envelopes or Labels, an Options dialog box appears for that type of document.  (See Labels or Envelopes)

  3. If you need to type a letter or mail message, do so now and save the document.

Note:  You must connect to a data list before you can insert the matching merge fields into a Main Document.

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Data Source

Think of a data source as a table. Each column is considered a data field.  The name of each data field is listed in the first row of cells, which is called the header record. Each subsequent row contains one complete data record.   This data table can be as simple as First Name, Last Name, Salutation, and Address, or more complex data from an Excel spreadsheet, an Access database, another database, a Word table, or Banner text files. 

Example:  Word Table

First Name Last Name Salutation Address
John Costello Mr. Costello 36 East Lynn Drive
Hampton, MA 98765
Carol King Ms. King P.O. 12345
Warwick, MA 12345


Select Recipents:  Click on the second button in the Start Mail Merge grouping. From the drop-down select either Type New List or Use Existing List.  The Use Existing List opens the Select Data Source dialog box.  Locate the data list you will be using to complete the merge.


When your data file is an Excel Spreadsheet you will receive the Confirm Data Source dialog box.  Besure the OLE DB Database Files is selected.  Click OK.


If there is more than one worksheet in your Workbook, you will be prompted to pick the appropriate sheet. Your first row in Excel must be the row that contains the column heading information, as in the sample table above.  If row one contains any other information, the merge will not work.

If you need to view, edit, filter or sort the data after opening the data file, see Edit Recipient List, below.


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Edit Recipient List

The third button on the Start Mail Merge group allows you to view and edit the recipients.


The check mark to the left of each name is the default that all records be included in the merge. Clicking the top Check mark in the header area will remove the check mark from all data records. You can manually remove a check mark by clicking on the check box in front of the appropriate record.

Editing Data

To edit the data you must first select the List from the Data Source shown below the recipients. The list shows but is not selected. Click the Edit button now that it is available. 

The Edit Data Source dialog box appears.  Click in the field you wish to edit and make the appropriate changes.  To add a new recipient click the New Entry button then fill in the fields with the new information.  When you are done editing you must click the OK button.  You will be prompted to save the changes to the recipient list.


Select by Criteria (Filter Records)

To filter the data before merging, click the Filter link.  Filter Records:  Word will merge only the data records that meet the criteria you specify in the Filter Options.

Field:  Select the a data field from the drop-down for which you want to specify a selection.  Example below:  State


Comparison:  Select the Comparison Phrase (operator) to use that will evaluate the data in the selected field. 

Compare to:  Type the value to compare to the field.  Examples below:

Only records where the State field is MA will be merged. 

Records where the State field is MA will not be merged.


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Sort Records:  Word will sort the data records by the field selected in the Sort by drop-down list.  Select to have the records in an Ascending or Descending order. 


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Insert Merge Field

Now that a recipient list is connected to the main document, Word needs to know which data fields to use. 

  1. Start by placing the cursor where the first merge field should be inserted in the Word document.  Example: In a letter, the inside address would start two returns below the date.

  2. From the Write & Insert Fields group, if you click on the Insert Merge Field button you will receive the Insert Merge Field Dialog box.  If you click the drop-down you will receive a list in which to pick the field to insert.   Using the drop down menu saves you the time of closing the dialog box after each field is inserted.

    Example:  Here is a completed inside address.

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Preview Results

As with Print Preview, you can preview the merged data.  This is only for the purpose of previewing; it is not the completed merge and will not print correctly.

From the Preview Results grouping, click the Preview Results button.  The Preview Results button is a toggle button turning on and off the Preivew.  You must turn off the preview before finishing the merge.   You are viewing one document at a time.  Using the Next Record, Previous, First and Last arrows you preview the mailing. 

Note:  What if you discover an error?  If the error is a typing error in an address or name, edit the data source.  If the typing error is in the body of the Main Document, edit the Main Document.  If a data field has been placed incorrectly, edit the Main Document by replacing the fields as needed. 


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Finish and Merge

If everything looks good after previewing your data, you are ready to Finish and Merge the results.  The last group in the Mailings Ribbon is Finish.


The menu gives you 3 choices.  Edit Individual Documents actually creates a new file that contains the merged recoreds.  The default is to merge All records.  You can save the merged file to print at your convience. If you have a large data source, you should still be able to merge all records, but it is suggested you print them in groups.  Example:  2000 letters grouped  1-500,  501-1000, 1001-1500, etc.

If you select Print Documents the default is to merge All records then send the results directly to the printer.  There is no file to save. 

For the Send E-mail Messages click here.

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Creating Labels

Before you begin, be sure you are familiar with the Mailings Ribbon, Selecting Recipients and Insert Merge Fields instructions. 

  1. Start with a blank document and the Mailings Ribbon

  2. Click the Start Mail Merge button, select Labels. .

  3. The Label Options dialog box appears.

  4. From the Printer Information area, choose between Continuous-fee or Page printers.   Select the tray you will be using to print the labels. 

    From the Label Information area, select the label product and corresponding number.  The Label Information data will change according to the product number.

  5. Click OK.  Word will fill the page with a grid to match the label layout.

  6. Select the Recipient source. (see Data Source). After opening the data source, Word places the cursor in the first label with the "Next Record" field in all the other labels.

  7. Insert the merge fields. (see Insert Merge Fields)

  8. To copy the merge fields to all the other labels, click the Update Labels button, located in the Write & Insert Fields group. This places the merge fields in every label.

  9. You are now ready to either Edit Recipient List, Preview Results, or Finish and Merge

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Creating Envelopes

Before you begin, be sure you are familiar with the Mailings Ribbon, Selecting Recipients and Insert Merge Fields instructions. 

  1. Start with a blank document and the Mailings Ribbon

  2. Click the Start Mail Merge button, select Envelopes.

  3. The Envelope Options dialog box appears.

  4. On the Envelope Options tab, select the your envelope size from the drop-down menu.  Size 10 in the normal Com10.

  5. Click the Font button under Delivery address to check or change the delivery font to match a corresponding letter.  The incremental arrows in the From left: and From top:  change the margin of the delivery address, as shown in the Preview envelope. 

  6. Click on the Print Options tab.  Word has used your default printer settings to manual feed the envelopes.  Go to your printer, open the manual feed tray, and select the corresponding Feed method to match your printer. 

    Note:  You can change the Face up to Face down, or check the Clockwise rotation for a variety of feed options. 

  7. Click OK when done.

  8. Open your data source (see Data Source).  After opening the data source, Word places the cursor in the return address area.  Click in the address delivery area to place the merge fields.

  9. Insert the merge fields. (see Insert Merge Fields)

  10. Preview Results your envelopes to be sure they are correct or Finish and Merge.


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Mail Merge to Email

One of the options in the Start Mail Merge is E-mail messages. Your data list must contain a field with the email address, not just their email name. For example,, not lhartman. Select this document type.

Type the mail message you would like to send. Remember, this is going to be an e-mail message, so you don't need the date, and you don't need a salutation if you don't want to use one. You should type the closing, as the system does not pause so you can say add the signature. 


Now open the data source. (see: Data Source )

Please refer to "Sort or Select by Criteria" if need be. Insert the merge fields by following the Insert Merge Fields instructions.

UPDATED  Note:  If you are including a hyper link to a website as one of the data fields you have a little more to do.  After inserting the data merge field, select the data field, from the Style drop-down look for and select Hyperlink.  You may have to show more styles to actually find Hyperlink.  When you merge the website address will now stay as a hyperlink and not revert to plain text.  


When you are ready to merge the email messages, click the Finish and Merge button.  Select Send E-mail Messages.

The Merge to Email Dialog box appears.


The TO: must match the field that contains the email addresses. Click the dropdown to select that field.

Subject Line: Type the subject of the mail message.

Mail format: HTML should be selected.

Send records make the choice to send All, Current or from record to record.

Click OK when complete.


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Printing Tip  

When you send a completed merge to the printer, be prepared because several things can go wrong: a paper jam, an error in proof-reading, or a flaw in the paper itself.

Note that mail merge pages are actually sections, so instead of printing pages 1-11 or 2,3,7,9, you must print pages s1-s11 or s2,s3,s7,s9, as shown below.  (The "s" stands for sections.)

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 |  Last updated May 28, 2014

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