When you perform a merge, unique information about each recipient is added into a new document.
In a mail merge, the recipient's information, which is unique in each merged copy, fills in for the placeholders that you added to the main document.
Recipient information might be: Addresses on envelopes or labels, names in the greeting line of a form letter, salary amounts in e-mail messages that you send to your employees, personal notes about favorite products in postcards that you mail to your best customers or numbers on redeemable coupons.
Recipient information must be kept in a data source. Data source is an umbrella term that covers a whole category of files you work with all the time. For example, your Microsoft Office Outlook contacts list is a data source. Other examples of data sources include: a Word table, an Excel worksheet, an Access database, or even a text file.
The recipient information is usually listed in columns and rows, as shown in the table in the picture. The data source file must be structured in a way that makes it possible to link specific information with the placeholders in the main document.
You'll learn how to set up the recipient list and connect to it in the next lesson.