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Microsoft Word 2008

Mail Merge Terminology

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

The Documents

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

Data Source
Also 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.

Components of the Data Source

The data source is organized by fields and 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 be the information that applies to a specific student. This information runs horizontally across the data grid.

Also referred to as Placeholders, a field is a subsection of a record, such as a name or zip code. Fields can be big or small. For example, a field can contain one address, or separate fields may break the address down into street address, state, and zip code. Separating the fields allows you to use them 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 by name, state, or zip code. The nature of the task determines how distinct your fields should be. Field information runs vertically on the data grid.

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