Columns represent a type of recipient information; each row is one complete recipient.
A recipient list can be any file that organizes the recipient information into columns and rows. You can create it using lots of different programs, such as Excel, Access, or Outlook.
The columns in a list represent a category or type of information. Each column is identified by a column heading. For example, in a customer list you might have columns for Name, Last Name, and Street Address.
Each row in a list represents one recipient's complete information. In the customer list, for example, one row contains all the information about one customer: the customer's name, address, and so on.
It's these columns and rows that make it possible to get unique recipient information into documents during a mail merge.
From the main document, you connect to the list and then you can add any column heading as a placeholder into the main document. (Officially, these placeholders are called fields. More on fields in a moment.)
When the mail merge is complete, there will be a finished document for each person that contains information from the entries in one row of the recipient list.
Tip For the best results, set up your recipient list so that each column represents the smallest possible piece of information. For example, use separate columns for First Name and Last Name rather than just a Name column. This gives you the most flexibility when you arrange fields in the main document and lets you, for example, greet customers by their first names.