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Microsoft Word 2007

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 for multiple recipients. Understanding the terminology associated with this feature will help you as you create merged documents.

return to topThe Documents

Starting Document
Contains the format for the document with references to the recipient list.

Recipient List
Contains the unique information of each record. It is merged with the main document to create the customized form letter or mailing list.
NOTE: The recipient list is sometimes referred to as the data source.

return to topComponents of the Recipient List

The recipient list is organized by fields and records, as shown here:
mail merge recipients

Recipient records
A record is made up of related information in the recipient list. For instance, if your recipient list 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 recipient list, 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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