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. ...


Always Open at 100% Zoom

Tired of shared workbooks opening at some strange zoom factor that makes viewing your data difficult? Here's how to make ...

Discover More

Insert AutoText Tool Unavailable on Header and Footer Toolbar

When creating headers or footers, you might notice at some time that the "Insert AutoText" tool on the Header and Footer ...

Discover More

Performing Calculations while Filtering

The advanced filtering capabilities of Excel allow you to easily perform comparisons and calculations while doing the ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Versions Not Saving Correctly

If you use Word's versioning tool, you may notice that you sometimes get errors with the versions in your documents. This ...

Discover More

Automatically Saving Versions

The versioning feature in Word can be very handy as you develop your documents. Here's how to set it up so that a new ...

Discover More

Finding Changes by Editor

Creating a Macro to find changes made by different editors.

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 6Mpixels. 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 six more than 8?

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

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.