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When you need to print letters or send emails to many customers, clients, or employees, you can do so quickly using a mail merge. With the mail merge wizard in Microsoft Word, you can set this up in just minutes.

A mail merge lets you compose the base of the message, insert the names, and create all the letters at one time. The nice part about Word’s mail merge wizard is that you can use an existing list or create one on the fly. You can also customize various parts of the letter and use the merge for labels or envelopes in addition to emails and letters.

Create a Mail Merge in Word

With the popularity of sending business emails, as opposed to physical letters, let’s use an example of creating an email mail merge. Open a Microsoft Word document and compose your message.

When you finish your message and are ready to create the merge, go to the Mailings tab. Use the Start Mail Merge drop-down arrow to select “Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard.”

Start Mail Merge for Wizard access in Word

You’ll see a sidebar open on the right which walks you through the mail merge process. Mark the Email Messages option at the top and click “Next: Starting Document” at the bottom.

Document types for a mail merge

Next, choose the Use the Current Document option. If you do want to start fresh with a template or from a different document, choose that option instead.

Click “Next: Select Recipients” at the bottom of the sidebar.

Document types for a mail merge in Word

Add the Recipients

Now you can select your recipient list or create one with the following options.

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Use an Existing List: Pick this option and click “Browse” to locate your file. When it opens in Word, you’ll see a box where you can refine your list if you like. Sort, filter, find duplicates, or validate the addresses. You can also use the checkboxes to select and deselect recipients.

Existing recipient list refine options

Select From Outlook Contacts: Mark this option and click “Choose Contacts Folder” to pick the folder. You’ll then see the contacts from that folder appear in a box just like above where you can refine your list.

Outlook contact folder options

Type a New List: Pick this option and then click “Create” to enter the recipients’ details in the pop-up window. You can use any of the fields you like and customize the columns.

New list creation window

After you select your recipients, click “Next: Write Your Email Message” at the bottom of the sidebar.

Complete Your Message

You can then choose from the blocks you see to add the recipient details to your message.

Available blocks for a mail merge

Address Block: Place your cursor in the document where you want the address block. Then, choose a format for the recipient names, whether you want to include a company name or postal address, and other details about the location.

You’ll see a preview of each recipient on the right and can use the arrows at the top to move through and review them. If something is missing, click “Match Fields” to correct this.

Address block format options

Click “OK” when you finish. You’ll see the Address Block variable in your document in the location you selected.

Address block variable in Word

Greeting Line: Place your cursor in the document where you want the greeting line. Select a salutation and format for the greeting line as well as a default for invalid recipient names. Preview each by using the arrows and box toward the bottom.

Greeting line format options

Click “OK” when you’re done and you’ll see the Greeting Line variable in your document.

Greeting line variable in Word

Electronic Postage: If you have electronic postage software installed on your computer, select this option and follow the prompts.

More Items: To add more fields such as phone numbers or additional address lines, place your cursor in the document where you want the fields, choose this option, and complete the details. Click “Insert” or “Match Fields” to finish.

Other available mail merge fields

To remove any of the items you added, simply select the variable and delete it from the document.

Select “Next: Preview Your Email Messages” at the bottom of the sidebar.

Preview and Send the Emails

You’ll then see a preview of the letter with the variables filled in with your recipients’ details. Use the arrows in the sidebar to preview each message. To make changes to your recipients, select “Edit Recipient List” or to go back and edit the document, use the links for the steps at the bottom of the sidebar.

Mail merge preview

When you finish, click “Next: Complete the Merge” and then select “Electronic Mail” to complete the To, Subject Line, and Mail Format details. Optionally, you can send to only certain recipients. Click “OK” to send the emails via Outlook.

Mail field completion box

Other Types of Mail Merge Documents

If you choose a different type of mail merge in Word, you’ll see only slight variances with the wizard.

Letters and Directory: You can add the same details as with emails, but at the end you can print or edit the individual letters or send the directory to a new document.

Envelopes and Labels: You can pick from different options such as envelope size, label type, and font. Then, print your envelopes or labels.

You can create a mail merge in Microsoft Word from scratch for emails, letters, envelopes, or labels using the Mailings tab. But for the easiest way to set up a merge in Word, check out the mail merge wizard.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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