Mail merge step 4: Preview the merge and then complete it

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2002

After you add fields to your main document, you are ready to preview the merge results. When you're satisfied with the preview, you can complete the merge.

Preview the merge

You can preview your merged documents and make changes before you actually complete the merge.

Mail Merge task pane - preview step

To preview, do any of the following:

  • Page through each merged document by using the next and previous buttons in the task pane.
  • Preview a specific document by clicking Find a recipient.
  • Click Exclude this recipient if you realize you don't want to include the record that you are looking at.
  • Click Edit recipient list to open the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, where you can filter the list if you see records that you don't want to include.
  • Click Previous at the bottom of the task pane to go back a step or two if you need to make other changes.

When you are satisfied with the merge results, click Next at the bottom of the task pane.

Complete the merge

What you do now depends on what type of document you're creating. If you are merging letters, you can print the letters or modify them individually. If you choose to modify the letters, Word saves them all to a single file, with one letter per page.

Mail Merge task pane - complete the merge step

No matter what type of document you are creating, you can print, transmit, or save all or just a subset of the documents.

ShowTip about e-mail messages

If you're creating merged e-mail messages, Word sends the messages immediately after you complete the merge. Therefore, after you choose which messages you want to send, you are prompted to indicate the column in your data file where Word can find e-mail addresses for the recipients. You also are prompted to type a subject line for the message.

Remember that merged documents that you save are separate from the main document. It's a good idea to save the main document itself if you plan to use it for another mail merge.

When you save the main document, in addition to its content and fields, you also save its connection to the data file. The next time you open the main document, you're prompted to choose whether you want the information from the data file to be merged again into the main document.

  • If you click Yes, the document opens with information from the first record merged in. If you open the task pane (Tools menu, Letters and Mailings submenu, Mail Merge command), you are at the Select recipients step. You can click hyperlinks in the task pane to modify the data file to include a different set of records or to connect to a different data file. Then, you can click Next at the bottom of the task pane to proceed with the merge.
  • If you click No, the connection between the main document and the data file is broken. The main document becomes a standard Word document. Fields are replaced with the unique information from the first record.