Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents.

Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 26, 2015)

Word's mail-merge feature is most often used to create what used to be called "form letters" or to create labels from a list of individual pieces of data. Another use for mail merge, however, is to use it to help create complete documents from a group of individual pieces. You can use mail merge to easily complete standard documents that have well-defined items that must be changed each time the document is composed.

Over time you might develop source documents to use with your business. For instance, if your business involves estate planning, you might develop documents dealing with powers of appointment, health care directives, trust agreements, wills, real estate deeds, etc. Each document could have many of the same elements: names of parties (such as document creators, beneficiaries, and trustees), dates, addresses (counties, cities, streets, states, ZIP Codes), genders, etc. Since those elements are common, it seems logical to place merge fields in those spots in the documents where the common elements are required.

You can then create a data input file that consists of a Word table with the specifics for each client. This information can be easily put on a CD and kept in a client's folder. A macro, initiated by simple, easily remembered key combinations, could then be used to create the final merged document.

The benefit is that an approach like this allows you to create whole sets of documents in short order. By using mail merge in this manner, you can produce exactly what you need very quickly. For instance, if you were (again) in the estate planning business, you might be able to create a rather lengthy death tax efficient trust agreement, one or more wills, powers of appointment, sets of health care directives, lists of instructions and sample letters, and other related documents in less that half an hour.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1307) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Elements in Lots of Charts at One Time

Got a bunch of charts that you need to make formatting changes in? You can use a macro (or two) to apply the formatting ...

Discover More

Unwanted Styles

Want to get rid of some styles in a document that you don't need any more? It can be a difficult thing to do, unless you try ...

Discover More

Can't Select Style Instances

Using the Styles and Formatting task pane, Word allows you to select all instances of a given style in your document. This ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Deleting an Old Document Version

Word allows you to maintain different versions of the same document all within a single document file. Here's how to delete ...

Discover More

Understanding Discussions

Discussions in a valuable tool for workplace collaboration on the same Word document.

Discover More

Refreshing the Discussion

To keep up with the Discussion, you will need to refresh the comments to make sure you are in-the-know.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.