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Microsoft Word 2003

Mail Merge Terminology

With Word's Mail Merge feature, you can take static text (e.g., a letter) or a static format (e.g., labels) and personalize it. Understanding some of the terminology associated with the feature will help you as you create merged documents.

return to topThe Documents

Starting Document
The starting document contains the format for the document with field references to the data source.

Data Source
Referred to as a recipient list, the data source contains the unique information for each record. It is merged with the main document to create the customized form letter or mailing list.

return to topComponents of the Data Source

The data source is organized by fields and records, as shown here:
Sample data source

Recipient records
A record is made up of related information in the data document. If your data file contains members of a student organization, one record will consist of the information regarding one specific student. Record information runs horizontally across the data grid.

In the data document, a field is a subsection of a record, such as a name or zip code. Fields can be large or small. For example, a field can contain an entire address, or separate fields may break down the address into street address, city, state, and zip code. Separating the fields allows you to use them together as a group (e.g., print the entire address at the top of the letter) or use them individually (e.g., address the recipient by first and last name, or first name alone). It also allows you to sort your addresses according to name, state, or zip code. The nature of your task will determine how distinct your fields should be. Field information runs vertically down the data grid.

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