How to Create a Form Letter in Microsoft Word

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You can create form letters in Microsoft Word by using a mail merge. A mail merge takes records from a data source, such as an Excel spreadsheet or an Outlook contact list, and merges the data into a letter. The form letter is the same for every recipient, except for the mail merge fields. The fields display the information from the data list. Use the mail merge function to create form letters, mailing labels or envelopes, and even mass emails.

  • Set up the main document on a new, blank document in Microsoft Word. Select "Start Mail Merge" on the Mailing tab in the Start Mail Merge group. Select "Letter" from the Start Mail Merge drop-down menu.

  • Connect the form letter to the data source by clicking on "Select Recipients" on the Mailing tab in the Start Mail Merge group. Choose "Use Outlook Contacts" to connect to your Outlook contact list, "Use Existing Data Source" to connect to an Excel or Access database or "Create a New Data File in Word" to type a new data source. Click "Go to the Next Step."

  • Refine the recipients list if you need to pick and choose who will receive the form letter. If everyone will receive the form letter, just select "Go to Next Step." Otherwise, select "Filter" in the "Refine Recipient List," then select the recipients and click "Go to Next Step."

  • Set up the main document by typing the form letter. Add mail merge fields by selecting "Address Block," "Greeting Line" or "Insert Merge Fields" on the Mailing tab in the Write and Insert group. To insert individual merge fields, select the needed fields from the "Fields" area on the Insert Merge Fields window. Click "Insert" and then "Close."

  • Preview your mail merge by selecting "Preview Results" on the Mailings tab in the Preview Results group. Click "Next Record" or "Previous Record" in the Preview Results group to page through your mail merge results.

  • Complete your mail merge by clicking "Finish & Merge" on the Mailings tab in the Finish group. Choose "Print Documents" or "Send E-Mail Message."

Tips & Warnings

  • You can connect data sources other than Outlook, Word, Excel and Access. These include a single table HTML file, an Object linking and embedding (OLE) database, and a simple text file that is comma delimited with individual records separated by a paragraph mark.
  • An address block includes the receiver's name, street address, city, state and zip code laid out like an address on an envelope.
  • Inserting a greeting line opens a screen that asks you to choose a salutation such as "Dear" or "To," as well as a name format.
  • You can insert all of the merge fields at one time and then move them to the desired location in the form, or insert the fields one at a time as you type.

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