Mailing Paper or Pixels with Microsoft Word 2013

  • 3/15/2013

Starting a mail merge

In Word 2013, a mail merge starts with a main document, which contains the formatting that you want in the final output. It might also contain text that you want to appear in each output document. You insert merge fields in the main document to reserve places for the variable data. You select a document or a database as the data source for the merge, and you can select which of the recipients listed in the data source will be used to create output. If you want, you can preview the output. Finally, you can send the output to a file, to the printer, or to an email program.

The mail merge feature in Word 2013 is quite flexible; you can use any of several kinds of data sources, you can sort and select the names or other items that you want to include, and you can create the output in several formats. However, this flexibility comes at the cost of some complexity. Completing a mail merge requires a sequence of steps, as described on the following pages.

The commands on the Mailings tab use the term recipients to refer to the names of people in a mailing list. You can also use Word’s mail merge feature to work with other kinds of lists, such as product catalogs, in which case the term recipients refers to the items in the list.

Create the main document

  1. Click File to display the Backstage view. Click the New tab and then click Blank Document or a custom template.

  2. If you want to create a letter or an email message to send to multiple addresses, use the new document to write the body of the letter or message (that is, everything that will be the same in all of the letters).

    If you’re creating labels, envelopes, or a directory merge (called a catalog merge in some earlier versions of Word), leave the document blank.

  3. When the main document is complete, on the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button. Then, while the document remains open, continue at “Select the merge type,” which follows this task.


Select the merge type

  1. On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, click Start Mail Merge. On the drop-down list that appears, click one of the following commands:

    • Letters Creates an output document containing a separate section for each recipient, with each section starting on a new page
    • E-Mail Messages Creates an email message to each recipient
    • Envelopes Creates an output document containing an envelope for each recipient
    • Labels Creates an output document containing labels, with one label for each recipient
    • Directory Creates an output document in which each recipient’s data starts a new paragraph
  2. If you clicked Labels in step 1, the Label Options dialog box opens automatically. Select the printer tray, label vendor, and product number, and then click OK. While the document remains open, continue at “Choosing the recipients” on page 337.

  3. If you clicked Envelopes in step 1, the Envelope Options dialog box opens automatically. Select the envelope size, choose the printing options, and then click OK. While the document remains open, continue at “Choosing the recipients.”