A mail merge creates customized form documents such as emails, envelopes, letters, and labels. Microsoft Word utilizes information from a data source to build individualized and personalized documents. Placeholders, called merge fields, tell Word where to include information from the data source.
In the following examples, a bicycle advocacy organization is hosting a small conference and has received proposals for conference sessions. We will first mail a letter to all the potential participants, letting them know we will review each submission. We will also create envelopes for this mailing. Next, we will draft email messages for each participant whose proposal we are not including. Then, in further practice, we will draft an email to all the participants whose proposal we are accepting. For the last two mail merge exercises, we will create print-ready signs for each conference session along with name tags.
To accomplish these tasks, an Excel spreadsheet will be the data source and Word will create our customized documents. In one exercise, personal Outlook accounts will be used to generate email messages. In rapid succession, we will use three programs of the Microsoft Office 365 suite.