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

AutoText Unavailable in Headers and Footers

When you are creating headers and footers for your document, you might want to use some of your AutoText entries. What if ...

Discover More

Dealing with Run-On Sentences

A common task when editing documents is to break up run-on sentences. You can make this task a little easier by using the ...

Discover More

Dynamic Path and Filename in a Footer

You can easily place a path and filename in the footer of your document. What do you do if it appears that these elements ...

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)

Merging with Two Data Sources

Setting up a Word mail merge to combine a data source with a merge document is easy. But what if you want to use two data ...

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

Using Unique Document Serial Numbers

If you need to include serial numbers in your printed matter (labels, letters, documents, etc.), the best way is through ...

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 two less than 5?

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.