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 Merge Fields.

Using Merge Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 15, 2014)

When you are creating your main mail merge document, you use merge fields to indicate where Word should insert information it extracts from your data source. Once you have started the mail merge process (as described in the previous tip), you can easily insert the appropriate merge fields. Again, how you do this depends on your version of Word.

If you are using Word 97 or Word 2000, you use the tools on the Mail Merge toolbar. This toolbar appears automatically whenever you have opened a main mail merge document that has a data source attached to it. The two main buttons you will use are the following:

  • Insert Merge Field. This button allows you to select, by field header name, the information to be inserted in your finished document. For instance, if you have a field named LastName in your data source, you can select that field when you click your mouse on the Insert Merge Field button.
  • Insert Word Field. This button allows you to place other types of controlling fields in your document. These fields don't represent data, but instead control how Word creates the final document based on information in your data file. For instance, you can insert a conditional field that would check the value of a field in your data source and only include information if a certain condition was met.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, then you choose what to include from the options presented in the task pane. If you want to insert a merge field, you click on the More Items link to see which merge fields are available. In reality, it is easier to just display the Mail Merge toolbar in Word 2002 or Word 2003, and then use the tools available there. Choose Toolbars from the View menu, and then choose Mail Merge. You can then insert fields just as you would in Word 97 or Word 2000.

The best way to learn how to use merge fields is by experimenting. Try using different fields and see what happens. You can learn quite a bit this way, and you will be happier with the resulting merged documents.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1370) 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 Merge Fields.

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

Extra Shaded Lines

Put a page break at the beginning of a shaded paragraph and you may be surprised at what you get on your printout. This ...

Discover More

Pulling Headers and Footers from Other Files

You may have some standard headers and footers you want to make available in your document templates. This tip describes ...

Discover More

Merging Cells

One of the layout tools that Sheets provides allows you to merge together a group of cells. Here's how to use that tool.

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Creating a Mail Merge Data File

An easy way to perform a mail merge starts with creating a data file in a Word document. This tip shows how you can ...

Discover More

Automatically Determining a Due Date

When you are doing a mail merge in Word, you may need to calculate a date sometime in the future. Word doesn't include an ...

Discover More

Printing Portions of Mail Merged Documents

When you use a data source to create a bunch of documents in a mail merge, you might not want to print all the documents ...

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 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 seven more than 6?

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.