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How to Mail Merge in Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign

Mail merge, or data merge (InDesign), is an easy way to automate adding unique information into a document. For example, names and addresses into form letters or mailing labels.

In this blog post, we'll explain how to do this in MS Word and Adobe InDesign.

 

In Microsoft Word

How to do it

Step 1: Create a list in excel of the names and addresses.

Step 1: Create a  list in excel of the names and addresses.

Step 2: Select [File] + [Save As] and choose Excel Workbook, CSV (Comma delimited) or Text (Tab delimited). Note, for InDesign save as CSV or Text (Tab delimited).

Step 2: Select [File] + [Save As] and choose Excel Workbook, CSV (Comma delimited) or Text (Tab delimited). Note, for InDesign save as  CSV or Text (Tab delimited).

Step 3: Click [Save]

Step 4: In MS Word, create a letter. In the example below, we've highlighted the areas we want to add unique information - the address and name of each person.

In MS Word, create a  letter. In the example below, we've highlighted the areas we want to add unique information - the address and name of each person.

Step 5: Select [Mailings] + [Start Mail Merge] + [Letters]

Select mailings, start mail merge and Letters

Step 6: Select [Select Recipients] + [Use an Existing List...]

Select Recipients

Step 7: Choose existing list and click [Open]

Choose existing list

Step 8: Select "Sheet1$" and click [OK]

Select sheet and click ok

Step 9: In the document, highlight where you would like to insert a field and select [Insert Merge Field] and choose which field you would like to insert.

Insert the merge fields

Step 10: Repeat step 9 until all fields are inserted as in the example below.

Insert all the fields

Note, to check that the merge is going to work properly, you can click on [Preview Results]

Preview Results

Step 11: By selecting the fields you can change the location and formatting.

By selecting the fields you can change the location and formatting

Step 12: When you are happy with the look, Select [Finish & Merge] + [Edit Individual Documents] or directly send to print by selecting [Print Documents].

Select Finish and Merge, edit individual documents

Congratulations, you've completed a simple mail merge!

Mailing Labels

Setting up mailing labels is similar to the instructions above.

How to do it

Step 1: As above, create and save a list in excel of the names and addresses.

Create and save a list in excel of the names and addresses

Step 2: In MS Word, select [Mailings] + [Labels]

Select Mailings, Labels

Step 3: Select [Options] to change the label size and type.

Select Options to change the label size and type

Label Options:

Label options

Step 4: Select [Select Recipients] + [Use an Existing List...]

Use Existing List

Step 5: Click in the first blank label and select [Insert Merge Field]. Add all the fields to complete the label. You can copy and paste into the rest of the labels on the page.

Add all the fields to complete the label. You can copy and paste into the rest of the labels on the page

Step 6: Important! If you preview the results of above, every label will have the same name and address. To fix this, you need to select [Rules] + [Next Record] and insert this before <<First_Name>> on every label except the first one.

Place Next Record in each of the labels except the first

Step 7: You can adjust the location of the text on the label by the ruler at the top or by selecting [Table Tools] + [Layout]

Adjust the layout of the label

Step 8: To finish the labels, select [Finish & Merge] + [Edit Individual Documents...]

 

Data Merge in InDesign

How to do it

Step 1: Follow steps 1, 2 and 3 in the MS Word instructions above to prepare a list of names and addresses.

Step 2: In InDesign, create a letter.

Step 3: Select [Window] + [Utilities] + [Data Merge]

Select Data Merge

Step 4: In the Data Merge dialogue box, select the small icon on the top right, then [Select Data Source]

Select Data Source

Step 5: Select the data source

Select data source

Step 6: The data will show up in the Data Merge box. In the letter, click where you would like to insert the fields and then click on each field in the Data Merge box.

Insert fields

Step 7: In the Data Merge box you can preview the results and Create Merge icon (top right).

Preview results and create merge

Step 8: When you click on the Create Merge icon (top right), the following dialogue box will appear. Click [OK]

Create merge options

Step 9: A new document will appear with a different page for each name and address.

A new document will appear with a different page for each name and address