- By Jay Freedman
Choosing the recipients
When you create a mail merge in Word 2013, you must choose the information that Word puts into the output document. The information could be stored in one of a number of places—as a table in a Word document, in an Excel worksheet, in an Access or Microsoft SQL Server database, or in an Outlook contact list.
After you select the file or other source of the data, Word provides tools with which you can refine the list of recipients or other records, to sort them on one or more fields, and to edit the list entries if necessary.
Select a data source
On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, click Select Recipients. On the menu that appears, click one of the following commands:
- Type A New List Opens the New Address List dialog box, in which you can type entries for a list and then save them as a database (.mdb) file
- Use An Existing List Opens the Select Data Source dialog box, in which you can select an existing file (a Word or plain text document, an Excel worksheet, or an Access or SQL Server database) containing the entries
- Choose From Outlook Contacts Opens the Select Contacts dialog box, in which you can select which contact folder to use, if your Office edition includes Outlook
If you clicked Type A New List in step 1, in the New Address List dialog box, type the names, addresses, and other information. To add each entry after the first one, click New Entry. When the list is complete, click OK and continue at step 3.
In the Save Address List dialog box that automatically opens, enter a file name and click Save. Then, continue at “Edit the list of recipients“ on page 339.
If you clicked Use An Existing List in step 1, the Select Data Source dialog box initially displays the contents of the My Data Sources folder in your user profile. If the data source that you want to use is a Word or plain text document, an Excel worksheet, or an Access (.mdb or .accdb) database, navigate to the correct folder and select the file containing the data. Then, “click Open and continue at Edit the list of recipients.”
If you clicked Choose From Outlook Contacts in step 1, click the contact folder that contains the data that you want to use and click OK. Then, continue at “Edit the list of recipients.”
Edit the list of recipients
If you chose an Outlook contacts folder as your data source, the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box opens automatically. Otherwise, on the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, click Edit Recipient List to open the Mail Merge Recipients dialog box.
Clear the check boxes next to entries that you do not want to include in the mail merge; select the check boxes for those that you do want to include.
Selecting or clearing the check box in the header row of the list causes all of the entries to become selected or cleared, respectively. If you want to keep only a few entries selected, first clear the entire list and then select those that you want.
If you want to add or delete entries in the list of recipients, click the name of the source file in the Data Source box and click Edit. The Edit Data Source dialog box that appears is the same as the New Address List dialog box shown in step 2 of “Select a data source” on page 337.
If the data source is an Outlook contact list, the Edit button does not become available. To edit entries in a contact list, you must use Outlook’s contact editor.
The order in which the merge’s results appear is determined by the order of the entries in the list of recipients. If you want to sort the list of recipients on a single column, click that column’s header. To sort on two or three columns, click the Sort link in the Refine Recipient List section to open the Filter And Sort dialog box. On the Sort tab, in each drop-down list, select the name of the column on which to sort, and whether to sort it in ascending or descending order.
For example, you can sort the recipients by state, then by last name, and finally by first name. In the merge’s results, someone named Smith who lives in Arizona would be listed before someone named Jones who lives in Wyoming.
If you want to include in the merge only the entries that satisfy certain criteria, click the Filter link in the Refine Recipient List section to open the Filter And Sort dialog box. On the Filter tab, select the name of a column in the Field drop-down list, select a condition in the Comparison drop-down list, and if necessary enter a value in the Compare To list box. You can continue adding criteria, connected by And or Or, as needed to specify the set of recipients to include.
For example, to limit the list of recipients to those whose last names start with the letter M, select the criteria Last | Greater than or equal to | M | And | Last | Less than | N.
When the list of recipients is complete and correctly sorted, click OK.