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

Returning the MODE of a Range

The MODE function is used to determine the most frequently recurring value in a range. This tip explains how to use the ...

Discover More

Understanding Building Blocks

Ever wonder what the Building Blocks feature does in Word? Here's an explanation of the feature and what you can do with it.

Discover More

Converting Footnotes to Endnotes

When you spend a lot of time creating footnotes, how can you convert all of them to endnotes without entering them all again? ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Merging Formatted Data

Using the mail merge feature of Word, you can make data from Access databases accessible for your documents. How information ...

Discover More

Merging and Printing

When you merge information into a document, Word provides two different ways you can create your output. Here's an overview ...

Discover More

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 create ...

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. 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 0 + 7?

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.