How do I… Integrate mail merge in Microsoft Word with Excel

We'll use this inventory table for the examples in this article

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Earlier in this series, you saw an article explaining how to harness the pure power of Word's mail merge feature and bend it you your will. In that article, you used Word's internal address book--really a very limited database--to keep track of the addresses to which information would be sent.

But, how many of you actually keep all of your contact information in Word? If you keep it in any Office program, you probably keep it in Excel, or in Access. Or, if you keep it in some other system, it's generally an easy process to get, for example, customer address information into Excel. In this article, I will show you how to make use of Excel data when using Word's mail merge feature.

I'm assuming that you know how to enter data into Excel and understand the purpose of Word's mail merge feature. If you need a refresher on either of these topics, take a look at previous articles in this series. I will be repeating some of the mail merge information from my previous article in this article in the interest of completeness. However, if you're interested in Word mail merge, you should read that article before you read this one.

Inventory sheets

For this article, rather than the typical form letter, we'll use an existing Excel used vehicle inventory to create inventory sheets that can be posted on each vehicle on the lot. Here's a snapshot of the Excel inventory table.

Note the column headings above. Every column has some kind of heading. While this isn't absolutely required, I do highly recommend that you assign a column heading to every column in your spreadsheet. Word will use these column headings as field names. If you fail to provide a column heading, you'll get things like "Column A", "Column B", which can be rather confusing. "Leather seats" and "Sunroof" are much more descriptive.