Mail Merge Solution to Time-Consuming Document Construction

by on November 8, 2007

Q: As part of my job I write replies to customers compliments and complaints. To write a response to the customer is a lengthy process and I am trying to make it easier by trying to find a way to link the customer details that are saved on the company intranet with the address area of a letter. Any ideas?

A: It sounds like you are in a situation perfectly tailored for a Mail Merge. To use a Mail Merge, you will need to have a couple of things: a database containing all of the customer names and addresses, and a form letter created in Word.

The easiest thing to do would be to create an Excel spreadsheet listing the customer names and addresses, with separate columns for each piece of information (i.e., first name, last name, street address, city, state, and zip code), each row consisting of a single customer’s information. Once this spreadsheet is built you can place it on your company’s intranet so that everyone who will need to do the mail merge will have access to it.

From here, it is as simple as building a form letter and pasting the appropriate fields in the appropriate positions; for example placing a First Name field in the correct position in the address section of your letter. All versions of Microsoft Word have a Mail Merge Wizard that walks the user through the process of designing and implementing a merged document. If you are not familiar with working with merged documents, the Mail Merge Wizard is a great place for you to start.

So, to summarize:

  1. Create an Excel spreadsheet containing all of the customer contact information.
  2. Create a form letter in Word, inserting merge fields where appropriate.
  3. Use Word’s Mail Merge Wizard to combine your documents.
  4. Marvel at your wonderful letters and brag to your co-workers.

I hope this helps!