How to Mail Merge Using an Excel Spreadsheet and Word

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

If you’re not a fan of using expensive email platforms to send emails to a large list, knowing how to using mail merge is one of your best options.

By using a combination of Microsoft Excel and Word, you’ll be able to create custom emails and letters designed for different persons.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Let’s go!

What is a mail merge?

As its name denotes, a mail merge is simply an Excel-Word combo that enables you to create personalized documents like email, newsletter, mailing labels, and more.

Mail merge saves time since you won’t have to personalize each document for different recipients.

Let’s say you would want to send Christmas emails to all your friends and relatives.

The problem is, you don’t want to create seemingly generic emails. You want each email to feel like they’re really made for that one person only.

For example, you want that for each email, the recipient’s name and address be mentioned.

That’s possible using mail merge.

As you will see later on, all you have to do is specify the different parameters using placeholders on the document template and have the recipient-specific information written down on a spreadsheet.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Get your FREE exercise file

Before you start:

Throughout this guide, you need a data set to practice.

I’ve included one for you (for free).

Download it right below!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file

Create your worksheet

Let’s follow-through our example earlier and create a spreadsheet that contains (made-up) information about some friends.

The spreadsheet contains the following information:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Address
  • Zip code
  • Email

When creating your own spreadsheet, make sure to write the headers (First name, Last name, etc…) on the first row of your worksheet to avoid any problems.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
How to create a worksheet for mail merge

Make sure to convert any columns with numbers to a numeric format.

Use numeric format in mail merge

Before you proceed, check the information first and see that they’re accurate. Make sure not to leave blank cells or empty rows as this might mislead Microsoft Word later on.

Once it’s ready, save your workbook. 😊

Create your template

After creating the worksheet, let’s proceed to a creating a Christmas message on Microsoft Word.

For this example, let’s use a shorter message. 😊

A sample message for mail merge

During this process, don’t worry too much about adding the placeholders.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Just focus on creating the best message for your recipients. 👍

Start the mail merge

This is where things get a little bit tricky.

But don’t worry. As we have said from the beginning, we will approach this step-by-step.

After creating your message, all you have to do is start the mail merge process.

Do this by going to the ‘Mailings’ tab on your Microsoft Word.

Once you’re there, click on the ‘Start Mail Merge’ button and select ‘E-mail Messages’.

We chose email messages to be consistent with our example. But if you need to create some other type of document, simply choose from the options available.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
How to start the mail merge with Excel and Word

Then, connect the worksheet you created earlier with the Word document.

To do this, click on the ‘Select Recipients’ button and select ‘Use an Existing List…’.

How to select the recipients of a mail merge

After selecting your worksheet, you will be asked to select a table.

This is in case you created different tabs on your worksheet. If you didn’t, you will only have one option.

Click ‘OK’ to proceed.

How to select the table for mail merge

If you would like to manage the recipients and exclude anyone from the list, click on the ‘Edit Recipient List’ button.

Here, you will be able to remove recipients from the merge by unchecking them.

How to manage the recipients of a mail merge

Congratulations! You have now merged your mailing lists with your Word document.

All that’s left is to add the placeholders to personalize the message! 😀

Add the placeholders

Remember the information you entered on the spreadsheet?

You can use any of them in your message!

For instance, you could add a greeting line before the content of your message.

Let’s try adding “Hey (first name)” on the message.

To do that, indicate where you want to place the greeting (in this case, it’s before the content of the message).

Then, click on the ‘Greeting Line’ button on the ribbon.

On this window, you will be able to customize the greeting line format.

Since the only option on the greeting is “Dear” and “To”, you can directly type “Hey” on the field.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Once you’ve got it all down, click on the ‘OK’ button to finalize your greeting line.

How to add a greeting line in a mail merge

This is how our message looks like now with the addition of the greeting line placeholder.

The result of adding a greeting message to a mail merge

If you’re writing a mail, you might want to include an address.

Although our example is an email, let’s try adding an address into it like in a mail.

Like earlier, you have to indicate first where to put the placeholder. In this case, let’s put it before the greeting line.

There are two ways to add an address.

You can either click on the ‘Address Block’ and format it the way you want to…

How to insert an address block on a mail merge

Or by clicking the ‘Insert Merge Field’ ➡ ‘Address’.

How to insert an address via merge field

Here’s how the document looks now:

How a message looks like with an address and greeting line blocks

That’s it!

If you would like to preview the results, simply click ‘Preview Results’ and go through the different versions of your message.

How to preview the mail merge

Nice!

Once you’re satisfied with everything, you can now finish the merge.

Click on the ‘Finish & Merge’ button and select the desired action.

How to finish the mail merge

Awesome! 🙂

Wrapping things up…

Using mail merge may be confusing at first. But as you can see, it’s really simple. Just create a spreadsheet, create a template, and start the merge!

To help you practice mail merge, we have included in this tutorial the sample worksheet we have created. This way, you will be able to focus on creating your own message and doing the mail merge itself. 😊

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto