Mail merge step 3: Add fields to the main document

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Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2002

After you connect your main document to a data file, you're ready to add fields that indicate where the unique information will appear in each copy of the document that you generate when you merge. To make sure that Word can find a column in your data file that corresponds to every address or greeting element, you may need to match fields.

Add fields

If your main document is still blank, type the information that will appear in each copy. Then, add fields by clicking the hyperlinks in the task pane.

Fields are placeholders that you insert into the main document at locations where you want unique information to appear. For example, you can click the Address block or Greeting line links in the task pane to add fields near the top of a new product letter, so that each recipient's letter contains a personalized address and greeting. Fields appear in your document within chevrons, for example, «AddressBlock».

Mail Merge task pane - add fields step

If you click More items in the task pane, you can add fields that match any of the columns in your data file. For example, your data file might include a column called Personal Note. By putting a Personal_Note field at the bottom of a form letter, you can further personalize each copy. You can even customize envelopes by adding a postal bar code — if you are using the English (U.S.) language version of Word — or electronic postage (if you have an electronic postage program installed).

Match fields

If you insert an address block field or a greeting line field into your document, you are prompted to choose the format that you prefer. For example, the illustration shows the Greeting Line dialog box that opens when you click Greeting line in the task pane. You use the lists under Greeting line format to make your choices.

Greeting Line dialog box

If Word can't match each greeting or address element with a column from your data file, the addresses and greeting lines will not be merged correctly. To help avoid problems, click Match Fields. The Match Fields dialog box opens.

Match Fields dialog box

The elements of an address and greeting are listed on the left. Column headings from your data file are listed on the right.

Word searches for the column that matches each element. In the illustration, Word automatically matched the data file's Surname column to Last Name. But Word was unable to match other elements. From this data file, for example, Word can't match First Name or Address 1.

By using the lists on the right, you can select the column from your data file that matches the element on the left. In the illustration, the Name column now matches First Name, and the Address column matches Address 1. It's okay if Courtesy Title, Company, and Spouse First Name aren't matched, because they aren't relevant in the documents that you are creating.

Match Fields dialog box

When you finish adding and matching the fields in your main document, you are ready for the next step.

Next step

Step 4: Preview the merge and then complete it

Applies to:
Office 2003