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Things to Look for When Proofing Mail Merge Documents

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One drawback to using mail merge to create documents is the risk of introducing errors into your document is far greater than if you had created the documents individually. The newer you are to mail merge, the higher the chances of errors; therefore, it is important that you proof-read carefully. Of course, experienced users will also want to proof carefully but will be more aware of common mistakes. The following is a list of things you should consider when proofing your document:

1. Have you inserted all the pertinent information in your document?

It is quite easy to overlook a field when you are creating your document. Pay particular attention to addresses and greeting lines or other areas where you have inserted several fields in succession.

2. Did you insert the correct field in the correct location?

If you have fields with similar names, it is all too easy to insert the wrong one. If you find you’re making this error frequently, it is a good idea to re-evaluate the names you’re giving your fields.

3. Is the spacing correct?

Sometimes it is difficult to tell how many spaces you have entered in a document. The use of merge fields makes it even more difficult to tell, particularly when they are close together. You may even find that you have omitted spaces altogether.

4. Is the punctuation correct?

As with spacing, it is easy to forget to add punctuation when you insert several fields in a row. Sometimes punctuation even gets added twice.

5. Is the correct text formatting applied to the merge fields?

Even experienced users sometimes have problems applying bold, underline, or italic format to fields. It is much easier to fix before you finalize the merge process.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of errors you can introduce in a mail merge process, but it is a good place to start. And it goes without saying that you should proof for other errors, such as typos and misspellings, that can occur in any document. Nobody’s perfect; some people are just better at pretending they are!

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