Mail merge, for many people, conjures thoughts of junk mail. While it is an undeniable fact that a lot of junk mail is generated by mail merge, mail merge can be used for so much more than just producing mass mailings; the mail merge feature essentially takes two parts a main document and a data source and merges them, so that you can achieve customized documents without the hassle of typing each one individually. Mail merge can be used to create any type of printed document, as well as electronically distributed documents and faxes. The possibilities for what can be created with mail merge are virtually limitless. Here are some examples:
When used wisely, mail merge will greatly improve your productivity.
- And, of course, letters
Microsoft Word further simplifies your work by allowing you to use data from other Office components such as Excel and Outlook, as well as providing a wizard that will walk you through the creation process. If you only have a stand alone version of Word, you can still use the mail merge feature, as Word has the ability to create a fully customizable data source for you. If you have the full Office suite, I would recommend that you get your data from another application. While this may seem counter-intuitive to someone new to mail merge, using contacts already entered in Outlook obviates the need to type the information a second time, and using an Excel spreadsheet gives you greater flexibility with your data than the data source Word will create.
NEXT: Part One: Starting the Mail Merge Wizard
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