Microsoft Word 2010 : Creating Form Letters with Mail Merge - Inserting Merge Fields

5/9/2013 7:37:34 PM
NOW THAT YOU’VE CREATED the main document and have selected a data source, the next step is to enter the merge fields (also called merge codes) into the main document, thereby instructing Word exactly where you want those data fields placed.

You have the option of placing a group of fields together or choosing the individual fields you want to enter. The field groups come in the two different forms. The first group is for an Address Block, which consists of the following fields: Title, First Name, Last Name, Company Name, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, City, State, and ZIP Code. The second group is for the Greeting Line, which includes a greeting such as “Dear” or “To,” followed by the First Name and Last Name, and then a punctuation choice, such as a comma.

Adding an Address Block

Begin by adding an Address Block. In the main document, click the insertion point where you want the recipient name and address. Choose Mailings > Write & Insert Fields > Address Block. The Insert Address Block dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Setting options for an Address Block.

Since Word recognizes the individual fields—including name, address, city, state, and ZIP—as part of the Address Block, using the Address Block saves you the steps of inserting each of those fields individually. You can, however, choose the style of Address Block you prefer. Click on the various address formats and review in the Preview panel just how your data looks with each format.

Match Fields

If the fields in your Address Block don’t match your data, you can manually pair them together. For example, if you expect to see someone’s first name, but instead you see their country, click the Match Fields button to identify and match the fields.

Click OK when you’ve decided on the format you want. Word returns to the main document and inserts a field <> at the insertion point. This is a hidden code to Microsoft Word. Don’t try to just type <>.

Selecting a Greeting Line

Most form letters also include a personalized greeting. Use the Greeting Line field box to assist you. Begin by positioning the insertion point where you want the Greeting Line, usually two lines under the Address Block. Choose Mailings > Write & Insert Fields > Greeting Line. The Insert Greeting Line dialog box appears (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Choosing a Greeting Line format.

Select a greeting from the first drop-down list. Choices include Dear, To, or nothing at all. From the second drop-down list, select the name format you like best, and then from the third drop-down list, choose a punctuation mark of comma or a colon, or choose no punctuation.

In the event that one or more of your recipients doesn’t have data in the first and last name fields, the Greeting Line for Invalid Recipient Names drop-down list provides a couple of alternatives. Select the one you prefer for your document. Or you might have to click the Match Fields button and select the proper field.

Click the OK button, which returns you to the Word main document where you now see the <> field code.

Adding Individual Fields

If the field information you want to insert into your document doesn’t fall into the Address Block or Greeting Line groups, you can manually insert fields into desired document areas. Just click the mouse pointer where you want the field to appear. Choose Mailings > Write & Insert Fields > Insert Merge Field and select the field you want in the letter.

Fields and Forms

It’s not necessary to use all fields in a form letter, and you can use fields multiple times in the same document.

Figure 3 illustrates a sample form letter with an Address Block, Greeting Line, and an individual data field entered into the letter. To make it easier for you to see, I highlighted the fields in yellow.

Figure 3. A sample form letter.
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