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Creating a Merge Document in MS Word

For Use With Data from MS Excel

This covers the initial creation of a merge.doc for use with Mail Merge in MS Word to print mailing labels. The data and fields for the document come from the MS Excel database temp.xls. Creation of merge.doc depends mainly upon knowing what data should be printed and what formatting should be applied.

Start the Mail Merge

Start MS Word. From the menu system choose Tools >> Mail Merge, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Starting the Mail Merge.
Choosing Mail Merge


The Mail Merge Helper dialog box should appear, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Mail Merge Helper dialog box.
Mail Merge Helper


From the dialog box click on Create and then click on Mailing Labels. See Figure 3.

Figure 3: Click on Create and then Mailing Labels
Create Mailing Labels


A pop up dialog box, see Figure 4, appears which asks where you want the merge document created. Unless you currently have data in the MS Word document, select Active Window. The Mail Merge Helper dialog box should now reappear.

Figure 4: Selecting location for the merge document.
Select Active Window


From the Mail Merge helper dialog select Get Data >> Open Data Source. See Figure 5.

Figure 5: Open the data source
Open Data Source


The Open Data Source dialog box, Figure 6, should appear. This is where you select your data source file. If you have been following the eleven steps for creating mailing labels, then your data source is named temp.xls. The location of this file may be \My Documents or wherever you normally save your data files.

Figure 6: The Open Data Source dialog. This is where you select your data source.
Open dialog


Select temp.xls by double clicking the file. Wait a few moments while MS Excel initiates a DDE link with MS Word. Next, a dialog box, Figure 7, asks you to select a Named Range or the Entire Spreadsheet. Choose the entire spreadsheet.

Figure 7: Select the entire spreadsheet.
Named range


From the next dialog box, Figure 8, click on Set Up Main Document.

Figure 8: Choose Set Up Main Document
Setup Document


Clicking on Set Up Main Document starts the Label Options dialog, Figure 9. This dialog allows you to customize the labels for your printer and label brand. Start by setting your printer information. Then select your label brand. Many brands are Avery compatible. Next, select your specific labels by the label number. Finally, click OK. Using this dialog, it is possible to create labels of any size, type, and spacing. This document does not cover those details.

Figure 9: Setting the label options
Label Options


The Create Labels dialog appears, see Figure 10. This dialog allows you to set formatting, insert data, and type regular text. A quick method of accessing some of the formatting commands is to right click your mouse inside the dialog box, see Figure 11. This right click allows you to change the fonts and the justification of the text you enter. For mailing labels I suggest setting the font size to 10.

Figure 10: The Create Labels dialog box.
Create Labels

Figure 11: The right click menu.
Right click menu


The power of mail merge, is its ability to use merge fields as a placeholder for data. An example of a merge field would be LastName. The easiest way to include merge fields in your document is to click on Insert Merge Field and then click on the appropriate field.

Besides the merge fields, you may also include spaces, hard returns, and any text. There is also a feature which allows you to include a postal bar code. Insert merge fields and text as though you were doing one label. This is the format that all of your labels will then use. Click OK when done. The Mail Merge Helper dialog reappears. Click on Cancel. Then save your new mail merge document. The next time you open this document and use Tools >> Mail Merge everything you have already done will be remembered. If you wish you may return to the eleven steps of mail merging.

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Created and maintained by Gary Dalton