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Using Word and Excel to Produce a Form Letter

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Using Mail Merge



Preparing a form letter with Word 2002 and Excel 2002


Two Microsoft Office applications will be required for this task. Excel will be used for the data and Word will be used to create the form letter. A form letter is one in which the body of the letter stays the same but specific information is inserted for/about several different individuals. You have probably gotten one like that from Publisher's ClearingHouse.

The first step will be to prepare the data source from which information will be inserted into the form letter.

Open Microsoft Excel. Remember to leave your browser window open until this lesson is finished.

The excel worksheet will take the place of a database. A database has field names for each type of information entered. Common field names are First Name, Last Name, Telephone, and zip code. The field names you choose will be determined by the form letter you want to produce. For this activity we will use the following field names:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Subject
  • Class period
  • Average grade

Field names must be entered in the cells across row 1. Type "First name" in cell A1. Press the Tab key to move to cell B1 and type "Last name." Continue until each of the field names above have been entered. Do not worry if the cell is not wide enough. Your worksheet will probably look somewhat like the one you see below:

Place your cursor over the " A " in the column heading and drag to the right unto you reach the " E " column heading. All five columns will be highlighted.

Place the cursor on the light gray line between any two of the highlighted headings. When your cursor turns into a double headed arrow, double-click the line between any two column headings. All columns will adjust to the width of the data.

Enter four lines of data. Create your own or copy what you see below:

Save the worksheet. Remember where you saved it. I recommend saving to the desktop. Close the worksheet.

Open Word. If a new blank document does not automatically open, go to the File menu and select New . Then open a new blank document

It is not necessary to begin typing the form letter. You may start the mail merge process before typing anything.

Go to the Tools menu and slide down to Letters and Mailings and then slide over to Mail Merge Wizard. The Mail Merge Helper dialog box opens. Each of the successive windows of the Mail Merge Wizard. will offer choices, and will suggest the next step. Step 1 asks if we will be working on a letter, we will, and suggests the next step at the bottom of the window, Starting document.

Click on Next: Starting document to move to the second Mail Merge Wizard. window. We will be using the current document, so no changes are required. Notice the bottom of the window allows you to back up in the procedure or to go on.

Select Next: Select recipients at the bottom of the window pictured above.

Step 12. Your first job at this window will be to Browse to find the existing list of data. When you find the list and select OK, your next choice will be to select the table which contains your data. Unless you put he data on a different worksheet in Excel, Sheet1$ is the correct selection.

Click the OK button for your next choice. As soon as you do click OK, you will be given a chance to make changes to the list of recipients who will be getting your letter.

If you need to make no changes to the list, click OK. The Mail Merge Window will have changed slightly.

Following the Wizard's suggestions, the next step will be to write your letter. When you click on Write your letter you will move to Step 4 of the Mail Merge Wizard.


Emphasis added around the last element above

Type the letter. In the first line of the letter suggested in the paragraph below, do not type <> . Put a space at the end of the word of and select More Items from the Mail Merge Wizard. Do the same in each place where you see text surrounded by the less than and greater than signs. The words will not show up in Word as purple, I did that for emphasis. You will make the selections from a window like you see below.

Each time you select a field click Insert and then close the window. Continue writing the letter, clicking on More items each time you come to one of the purple fields below.

To the parents of <> <> ,
 
As we approach the end of the first six weeks I wanted to let you know how glad I am to have <> in my <> period <> class. At this time <> 's average is <> . If I can be of assistance please call me.

When you have finished writing your letter, click on Next: Preview your letters at the bottom of the Mail Merge Wizard. That brings up a copy of the letter with the data from your Excel document merged into place. Click on the forward or backward arrows ( << or >>) to see letters to other recipients. Notice, you once again have the opportunity to exclude individuals on your list.

 
If you are satisfied with the way your letter looks, the final step at the bottom of the Mail Merge Wizard. is to Complete the merge .

At this point you could Print your letters or edit individual letters.

Possible uses - Any letter or document that needs to be sent to multiple recipients is a good candidate for a mail merge. Some obvious uses include:

  • Note to parents
  • Progress report
  • Certificates

Go back to Using Microsoft Word to Produce Classroom Documents

Internet4classrooms is a collaborative effort by Susan Brooks and Bill Byles.
 

  

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