Create a mail merge

Use mail merge when you want to create a large number of documents that are mostly identical but include some unique information. For example, you can use mail merge to create individually customized publications with personalized notes. You also can use mail merge to create a product announcement that you are sending to your top 100 customers. The text of the publication is always the same, but the name and address are different for each customer.

Use the Mail Merge task pane to guide you through the steps for creating a mail merge. To open the Mail Merge task pane in a new or existing publication, click the Tools menu, point to Mailings and Catalogs, and then click Mail Merge.

In this article


Create or connect to the recipient list

To perform a mail merge, you must open a new or existing publication and then connect to a data source, which is a file that contains the unique information that you want to include. A data file may contain a list of names and addresses, product data, or pictures. The data file can be in a variety of formats, including:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook Contacts list
  • Microsoft Office Excel worksheets
  • Microsoft Office Word tables
  • Microsoft Office Access database tables
  • Text files in which tabs or commas separate the columns, and paragraph returns separate the rows

You can connect to an existing list or data source, or you can create a new recipient list. If you want to use only certain entries in your list, you can filter your list by a specific criterion. You can also sort the items in alphabetical order.

 Note   If you want to merge pictures into your publication pages, your data source must include either file names or paths (path: The route that the operating system uses to locate a folder or file; for example, C:\House finances\March.doc.) for the picture files that you want to merge. Do not include the actual pictures or images in your data source.

Use an existing list

  1. Under Create recipient list, click Use an existing list, and then click Next: Create or connect to a recipient list.

By default, Microsoft Publisher stores data sources in the My Data Sources folder. You may need to browse to locate your data source.

  1. In the Select Data Source dialog box, click the data source that you want.
  2. Click Open.

Depending on the type of data source that you select, other dialog boxes may appear requesting specific information.

For example, if your data source is a Microsoft Office Excel workbook that has information on multiple worksheets, you need to select the worksheet that contains the information that you want, and then click OK.

Select from Outlook Contacts

  1. Under Create recipient list, click Select from Outlook contacts, and then click Next: Create or connect to a recipient list.
  2. If you are prompted to choose a mail profile, click the profile that you want, and then click OK.
  3. In the Select Contacts dialog box, click the contact list that you want, and then click OK.

All of the contacts in the folder appear in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, where you can filter and sort the list of recipients to include in the merge.

Type a new list

If you don't have an existing list to connect to, you can create a new list.

  1. Under Create recipient list, click Type a new list, and then click Next: Create or connect to a recipient list.
  2. In the New Address List dialog box, type the information for the first entry in the relevant fields. You do not have to fill in every field.
  3. When you have finished entering information for the first entry, click New Entry.
  4. Repeat step 2 and step 3 until you have finished adding entries, and then click OK.
  5. In the Save Address List dialog box, type a name for the address list in the File name box, and select a folder in which to save the list.

By default, Microsoft Publisher saves address lists in the My Data Sources folder. It is best to keep the address list here because this is also the default folder in which Publisher looks for data sources.

All of the contacts in your new list appear in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, where you can filter and sort the list of recipients to include in the merge.

Select recipients

In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, you can select the recipients that you want to include in the merge. Select the check boxes next to the recipients that you want to include, and clear the check boxes next to the recipients that you want to exclude.

If you want to use only certain entries in your list, you can filter your list by a specific field or criterion. After you filter the list, you can use the check boxes to include and exclude records.

ShowFilter items in the list

  1. Click the arrow next to the column heading of the item you want to filter by.
  2. Click any of the following:
    • (Blanks) displays all the records in which the corresponding field is blank.
    • (Nonblanks) displays all the records in which the corresponding field contains information.
    • (Advanced) opens the Filter and Sort dialog box, which you can use to filter on multiple criteria. You also can click Filter under Refine recipient list in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box to open the Filter and Sort dialog box.

 Tip   If your data source contains records that share the same information, and there are ten or fewer unique values in the column, you can filter by specific information. For example, if there are multiple addresses that list Australia as the country/region, you can filter on Australia.

The Mail Merge Recipients dialog box displays only the designated records. To display all the records again, click (All)

If you want to see items in alphabetical order, you can sort the items in your list.

ShowSort items in the list

  • In the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box, click the column heading of the item you want to sort by.

For example, if you want to display the list alphabetically by last name, click the Last Name column heading.

  • To quickly select or clear all items, select or clear the check box column heading.
  • To sort using multiple criteria, click Sort under Refine recipient list in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box. In the Filter and Sort dialog box, select the criteria you want to sort by.

Click OK to return to the Mail Merge task pane.

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Prepare your publication

A mail merge combines one document containing the information that is the same in each copy and some placeholders for the information that is unique to each copy. After you create your publication, insert any additional text that you want to appear in every version of your mail merge publication, such as a greeting, and the placeholders for the unique information, such as addresses.

If you have not already done so, insert a text box, type the text that you want to appear in every version of your mail merge publication, and add the placeholders for the unique information.

Insert a text box

  1. On the Objects tool bar, click Text Box Button image.
  2. In your publication, point to where you want one corner of the text box to appear, and then drag diagonally until you have the text box size you want.

Insert the text that you want in every version

  • Click inside the text box, and then type the text that you want to appear in every version of your mail merge publication.

Insert data fields into your publication

  1. In your mail merge publication, click inside the text box where you want to insert the data field (data field: A category of information that corresponds to one column of information in a data source. The name of each data field is listed in the first row (header row) of the data source. "PostalCode" and "LastName" are examples of data field names.).
  2. Insert any of the following:

ShowAddress block with name, address, and other information

  1. In the Mail Merge task pane (Step 2: Prepare your publication) under More items, click Address block.
  2. In the Insert Address Block dialog box, click the address elements that you want to include, and then click OK.

 Note   If the names of the data field (data field: A category of information that corresponds to one column of information in a data source. The name of each data field is listed in the first row (header row) of the data source. "PostalCode" and "LastName" are examples of data field names.) in your data source do not match the names of the fields that Publisher uses for the address block, you may need to click Match Fields in the Insert Address Block dialog box. In the Match Fields dialog box, use the drop-down lists to select the fields from your data source that correspond to the Publisher fields.

ShowGreeting line

  1. In the Mail Merge task pane (Step 2: Prepare your publication) under More items, click Greeting line.
  2. In the Greeting Line dialog box, select the greeting line format, which includes the salutation, name format, and following punctuation.
  3. Select the that text you want to appear in cases where Publisher cannot interpret the recipient's name; for example, when the data source contains no first or last name for a recipient, but only a company name.
  4. Click OK.

 Note   If the names of the data fields in your data source do not match the names of the fields that Publisher uses for the greeting line, you may need to click Match Fields in the Greeting Line dialog box. In the Match Fields dialog box, use the drop-down lists to select the fields from your data source that correspond to the Publisher fields.

ShowAddress fields

  1. In the Mail Merge task pane (Step 2: Prepare your publication) under More items, click Address fields.
  2. In the Insert Address Field dialog box, click each address element that you want to include.

 Note   If the names of the data fields in your data source do not match the names of the fields that Publisher uses for the address fields, you may need to click Match Fields in the Insert Address Field dialog box. In the Match Fields dialog box, use the drop-down lists to select the fields from your data source that correspond to the Publisher fields.

ShowOther fields of information

In the Mail Merge task pane (Step 2: Prepare your publication), in the list box under Prepare your publication, drag the field that you want to include into the text box that you have created for it.

Format the data fields

If you want, you can apply formats to the data fields and any other text you've added (such as a greeting of Hello or a salutation like Dear...) to change the appearance of the merged data. To format the merged data, you must format the data fields in your mail merge publication.

  1. In your mail merge publication, select the field containing the information that you want to format.
  2. On the Format menu, click Font, and then select the options that you want.

Preview recipient data in the data fields in your publication

Now you can review how your publication will appear with the actual data in the merged fields.

  1. To preview your publication, do any of the following:
  • To preview entries in order, click the navigation buttons Forward button Back button to see how each entry will appear in your merged publication.

The information from the first record of your data source populates the merge fields. You cannot edit your data source entries on your publication pages, but you can format, move, or delete data fields there.

  • To find and preview a specific entry in your data source, click Find a recipient, and then enter the search criteria in the Find Entry dialog box.
  1. If necessary, make changes to your recipient list. Do any of the following:
    • To exclude a particular recipient from the merge, click Exclude this recipient.
    • To change the list of recipients, click Edit recipient list, and then make your changes in the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box.
  2. After you complete your mail merge publication and insert all of the merge fields, click Save As on the File menu. Type a name for your publication in the File name box, and then click Save.
  3. Click Next: Create merged publications.

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Create the merged publication

In the Mail Merge task pane, under Create merged publications, you can:

  • Print your merged publication (for example, for mailing)
  • Preview your merged publication (to see how it will look before you print all versions and to resolve potential issues)
  • Save the merged publication for later use
  • Add the merged pages to another publication

Preview your merged publication

  • Click Print preview.

Print your merged publication

  1. Click Print.
  2. In the Print dialog box, select the options that you want, and then click OK.

 Important   To print different sets of merge data — for example, different names and addresses — on each sheet of paper, click Multiple pages per sheet in the Printing options section. If you choose Multiple copies per sheet, each sheet of paper will contain multiple copies of the same data.

Print dialog box with Multiple pages per sheet option

Save the merged publication for later use

If you want to edit your merged pages, save them for later use, or print them at a later time, you can collect and save all of your merged pages as a single new merged publication that contains the actual data — for example, names and addresses — instead of merge fields.

  1. Click Merge to a new publication.

Publisher creates a new publication with the merged pages.

  1. In your new publication, click Save this publication in the Mail Merge task pane. Type a name for your new publication in the File name box, and then click Save.

Add the merged pages to an existing publication

If you plan to add your merged pages to the end of an existing publication, make sure that your mail merge publication matches the existing publication in the following ways:

  • Page size (height and width)
  • Page view (one-page spread or two-page spread)
  • Publication type (Web or print)
  • Page order (left-to-right or right-to-left)

Publisher adds merged pages to a new or existing publication but cannot add them to an open publication. If a publication to which you want to merge is open, be sure to save and close it before you complete the merge.

  1. Click Add to existing publication.
  2. In the Open Publication dialog box, locate the publication to which you want to add the merged pages, and then click Open.

Publisher adds the merged pages to the existing publication.

  1. In the existing publication, click Save this publication in the Mail Merge task pane to save your updates.

Save the mail merge publication

If you also save the publication that contains the merge fields, you can go back and edit the merge fields and create a new merged publication that contains new merge fields or an updated recipient list. To save your mail merge publication, do the following:

  1. Be sure that you are in the mail merge publication.
  2. On the File menu, click Save.
  3. Give the mail merge publication a name, and then click Save.

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Cancel a merge

You can cancel a merge to disconnect a mail merge publication or a catalog merge template from its data source (data source: A file that contains information that can be merged into a publication. For example, a list of names and addresses, or paths to pictures you want to use in a mail or catalog merge. You must connect to a data source to perform a merge.).

  1. On the Tools menu, point to Mailings and Catalogs, and then click Cancel Merge.
  2. When asked if you want to cancel the merge, click Yes.

The publication is disconnected from its data source.

 Note   If you cancel a mail merge, fields other than Address Fields, Greeting Lines, and Address Blocks are converted to regular text.

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Applies to:
Publisher 2007