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Microsoft KB Archive/141922

From BetaArchive Wiki

Article ID: 141922

Article Last Modified on 1/19/2007


  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q141922


This article describes how to start a mail merge.

The process is divided into four parts:

  1. Open or create the main document.
  2. Open or create the data source
  3. Edit the main document.
  4. Perform the merge.



To open or create the main document, follow these steps:

  1. If you already have a document that you want to use as the main document, open it now.

The main document can be an existing letter, a new letter based on a letter template, or a new blank document. If you do not yet have a document to use as the main document, you can create one in step 4.

  1. Open the document in Word. On the Tools menu, click Mail Merge.

The Mail Merge Helper dialog box appears.

  1. Under "1. Main Document," click Create and click Form Letters.
  2. Word asks if you want to use the active window or a new document window. If you want to use the document you opened in step 1, click Active Window. (The active document becomes the Mail Merge main document.) If you do not have a document yet, click New Main Document. (Word creates a new document).

Word returns to the Mail Merge Helper.


The data source contains the information that can vary in each version of the form letter. You can open an existing data source created in Word, or you can create a new data source and fill in the addressee information.

NOTE: The data source can also be created in another program such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, a Personal Address Book created in Exchange or Schedule+, an ASCII text file, or any other delimited file.

In the Mail Merge Helper, under "2 Data Source," click Get Data. The options are Create Data Source (that is, create a new data source), Open Data Source (open an existing data source), Header Options, and Use Address Book.

Use any of the following methods.

Method 1: Typing the Names and Addresses for the First Time

If you haven't yet typed the names and addresses, and if you want to do so in Word, follow these steps:

  1. Under "2. Data Source," click Get Data and choose Create Data Source.
  2. The Create Data Source dialog box contains a list of field names commonly used in form letters, mailing labels, and envelopes. You can rename the fields and remove the fields you don't need. To add field names, type the name in the Field Name box and then choose the Add Field Name button. Click OK when you are finished.
  3. When Word prompts you to save the data source, name the file and click OK.
  4. When Word asks if you want to edit the data source or set up the main document, click Edit Data Source.
  5. When the Data Form dialog box appears, enter your addressee information. (If there's no information for a particular field, leave the box blank.)

The set of information in each form makes up one data record.

After entering the information for a record, click Add New to move to the next record. After adding all of your data, click OK.

  1. Skip to "Step 3: Edit the Main Document."

Method 2: Using a Data Source That Has Already Been Created

To open an existing data source, follow these steps:

  1. In the Mail Merge Helper dialog box, click Get Data.
  2. Click Open Data Source.
  3. From the list of files, select the data source you want to use, and then click OK.

If the data source is not listed in the list of files, choose the appropriate drive and folder. Select the appropriate option in the List Files of Type box.

  1. Word determines whether you need to set up the main document and displays a message. Click Edit Main Document.
  2. Skip to "Step 3: Edit the Main Document."

Method 3: Using the Names and Addresses Stored in the Address Book

To use the name and addresses stored in the address book, follow these steps:

  1. In the Mail Merge Helper dialog box, click Get Data, and select Use Address Book.

The Use Address Book dialog box appears with the available address books listed under Choose Address Book.

  1. Select the Address Book you want to use as your data source. Word may ask you to confirm the data source if you have Confirm Conversions selected as an option.

If you use an address book/contact list from Schedule+, Word prompts you to log on to Schedule+ and provide a password if necessary.

If you use an address book from Exchange, Word asks you to log on to the Exchange services.

Word determines whether you need to set up the main document and displays a message.

  1. Click Set Up Main Document.
  2. Continue with "Step 3: Edit the Main Document."


Word returns to the main document. (Notice the appearance of the Mail Merge Toolbar.) From the main document, follow these steps:

  1. Type or add any text and graphics you want to include in the letter.
  2. Each time you come to a place where you want to insert information from the data source, click the Insert Merge Field button on the Mail Merge Toolbar. Choose the appropriate merge field.

Make sure you type any spaces or punctuation you want between two merge fields or after a merge field.

  1. When you finish editing the main document, click Save or Save As on the File menu. Name the file and click Save.


To perform the merge, follow these steps:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Mail Merge.

This returns you to the Mail Merge Helper.

  1. Under "3. Merge the Data with the Document," click Merge.

Word displays the Merge dialog box. (If you click Query Options instead of Merge, you are given the option to select certain data records to include in the merge or to sort the records in the data source.)

  1. Under Merge To, select New Document to display the merged document on the screen.

This allows you to view the document before printing it. (Select Printer to send the merged document directly to the printer.)

  1. With New Document selected in Merge To, click Merge.
  2. Once the merged document appears on the screen, you can save this as a separate document or you can send the merged document to the printer by clicking Print on the File menu.

Online Help Topics

For more information about mail merge, click Contents and Index on the Help menu. Click the Index tab, and type "Mail Merge" in the search window. The applicable topics will be listed for you to choose from. Select a topic and click Display.

Or click the Office Assistant, type "mail merge," click Search, and then click to view the "Print or send a mail-merge document" topic.

NOTE: If the Assistant is hidden, click the Office Assistant button on the Standard toolbar. If Word Help is not installed on your computer, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

120802 Office: How to Add/Remove a Single Office Program or Component

Other Related Articles

For more information about mail merge, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

141991 WD: How to Create Envelopes Using Mail Merge

141992 WD: How to Create Mailing Labels Using Mail Merge

Additional query words: mail merge form letter tools create helper secondary mmh 8.0 8.00

Keywords: kbfaq kbhowto kbmerge kbualink97 KB141922