Software

Use a single mailing list to send out two entirely different letters

Thanks to Word's mail merge fields, you can automate the process of producing different letters based on criteria you specify. This example shows how it works.

When you need to send two or more different letters to your clients based on a value in a field in the client database, you don't need to compile two separate mailing lists. Using the If... Then...Else rule with the INCLUDETEXT field, you can process both letters at once. For example, say you have saved two documents, one containing the body of the letter for clients located in Missouri and a second containing the body of the letter for clients located in Illinois. To create one mailing that will send the appropriate letter to each client, follow these steps:

  1. Open your mail merge document, which contains the merge fields and text common to both letters.

  1. Click below the greeting, where you want to insert the body of your letter.

  1. Click the drop-down arrow of the Insert Word Field button in the Mail Merge toolbar. (In Word 2007, click Rules in the Write & Insert Fields group of the Mailings tab.)

  1. Click If...Then...Else.

  1. Click the Field Name box drop-down arrow and select State (Figure A).

Figure A

  1. Click in the Comparison box and select Equal To.

  1. Click in the Compare To box and type MO.

  1. Click in the Insert This Text box and type This is the text for MO.

  1. In the Otherwise Insert This Text box, type This is the text for IL.

  1. Click OK.

  1. Right-click the field in the document and select Toggle Field Codes to display all the field codes (Figure B).

Figure B

  1. Select the following text inside the quotes: This is the text for MO. (Do not select the quotes.)

  1. Go to Insert | Field. (In Word 2007, click Quick Parts in the Text Group of the Insert tab.)

  1. Click Field.

  1. Under Field Names, select IncludeText (Figure C).

Figure C

  1. Click in the Filename Or URL box and type the full pathname for the file containing the body of the letter for Missouri clients.

  1. Click OK.

  1. Right-click the field and select Toggle Field Codes.

  1. Select the following text inside the quotes: This is the text for IL. (Again, do not select the quotes.)

  1. Repeat steps 13 through 15.

  1. Click in the Filename Or URL box and type the full pathname for the file containing the body of the letter for the Illinois clients.

  1. Click OK.
When you right-click the field and toggle the field codes, your rule should look like the one in Figure D, substituting your filenames for each of the letters. When you run the mail merge, Word will print the letter that pertains to the value of the State field in each client record. (If you prefer to enter the field codes entirely from the keyboard, be sure to use Ctrl + F9 to enter the brackets.)

Figure D

Note that you can use the If ...Then... Else rule with INCLUDETEXT to print out different letters for any number of values in the field. Simply create a different If...Then...Else rule for each value, with INCLUDETEXT as the first variable and blank (nothing between the quotes) for the second variable.


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