Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents.

Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 3, 2018)

6

Word's mail-merge feature is most often used to create what used to be called "form letters" or to create labels from a list of individual pieces of data. Another use for mail merge, however, is to use it to help create complete documents from a group of individual pieces. You can use mail merge to easily complete standard documents that have well-defined items that must be changed each time the document is composed.

Over time you might develop source documents to use with your business. For instance, if your business involves estate planning, you might develop documents dealing with powers of appointment, health care directives, trust agreements, wills, real estate deeds, etc. Each document could have many of the same elements: names of parties (such as document creators, beneficiaries, and trustees), dates, addresses (counties, cities, streets, states, ZIP Codes), genders, etc. Since those elements are common, it seems logical to place merge fields in those spots in the documents where the common elements are required.

You can then create a data input file that consists of a Word table with the specifics for each client. This information can be easily put on a CD and kept in a client's folder. A macro, initiated by simple, easily remembered key combinations, could then be used to create the final merged document.

The benefit is that an approach like this allows you to create whole sets of documents in short order. By using mail merge in this manner, you can produce exactly what you need very quickly. For instance, if you were (again) in the estate planning business, you might be able to create a rather lengthy death tax efficient trust agreement, one or more wills, powers of appointment, sets of health care directives, lists of instructions and sample letters, and other related documents in less than half an hour.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10970) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Mail Merge to Complete Documents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is one less than 3?

2018-10-03 12:59:23

peter roth

Another great tip!

This will end my effort to map text onto Access forms. Much easier to set up Word to do the text processing.

Thanks!


2018-10-03 09:14:54

Jennifer Thomas

@grunteledlark - That's a brilliant idea! I just created a 'client template' for someone with the custom fields defined for that case as 'First' 'Last' 'Matter number', etc.

HOW: Save a blank document as Word template. Click File | Info | Properties drop-down arrow | Advanced Properties | Custom tab. Type the name of each variable (field), eg First, Last, Matter#, etc., and enter a placeholder value (I usually use the name of the field) | click OK. Save that; it is your base form for everything you want customized.

Now she can create a better boilerplate form from that template by replacing the placeholder text variables with the custom fields.

HOW: Open a blank document from the template, paste the original boilerplate text. For each variable, click Insert tab | Quick Parts |
Field. Navigate to the category of Document Information and click the DocProperty category | double-click the variable field name. Save that; it is your boilerplate for all documents of that type.

With that new boilerplate, all she needs to do it modify the values for the custom field, select all, and press F9 and she's got a perfectly customized document.

HOW: Click File | Info | Properties Drop-down arrow | Advanced Properties. In the field at the bottom of the Custom tab, click the name of the property. Edit the value, then click Modify; when all values are modified with the document-specific information, click OK . Select the whole document | press F9.

@Kate Jones (et al): I hope that is enough detail for you to do it with @gruntledlark's idea -- it is actually fairly easy once you get the boilerplates set up.


2015-11-23 11:47:46

Kate Jones

I was looking for how to do this, not the information that I can.


2015-01-06 10:27:51

gruntledlark

Hitesh, if Customer details are short bits of info like name, address, stuff like that, I use Document Properties, especially if the same info is peppered throughout the document. create a custom doc property for each bit of info then use a doc property field for that info in your boilerplate text.


2015-01-05 01:07:12

Hitesh J Thacker

Hello sir,
I have a Scenario in which i have to create agreements for our Customer,

Each agreement is specific to the Customers Details but overall body and Text for all remains the same.
i want a solution in which i just need to fill in the variable content in a form and the agreements gets finalised according to the variables filled in form

Can you please help or suggest me how to go about it?


2014-10-16 10:00:02

gruntledlark

it would be nice to see actual examples of the concepts described by this tip. I often use Document Properties to do something similar to this but the mail merge sounds more efficient.


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