What is Mail Merge?

printer printing multiple address labels with variable information on each label

In simple terms, mail merge basically takes care of the work of copying and pasting your data for you. So instead of having to take hours copying and pasting names and addresses onto each label on a sheet, you can use a mail merge to automatically import that information into a document.

How Mail Merge Works

The two basic components of a mail merge are the document you will be merging data into and the data source that you will be importing the data from. The mail merge function imports information from a data source, which is almost always a spreadsheet, and automatically organizes the data into a specific layout.

For example, a more complicated mail merge can take multiple columns of mailing information in a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet and organize it to appear as an address with the correct spacing and punctuation. You can select which columns from the original spreadsheet you would like to use and how you would like that information to appear.

What You Can Create with Mail Merge

Although mail merge was originally created for simplifying mailing lists, there are now multiple different templates that work with mail merge. With mail merge you can create inventory labels, print name badges from a guest list, organize tent cards for events and more.

Software That Can Be Used with Mail Merge

Design and Print, Microsoft Word and many modern word processors include a mail merge feature. Other programs, like Google Docs™, have mail merge add-ons that can be installed.

Microsoft Excel is the most commonly-used software to create databases for mail merge but you can also create data sources with Google Sheets™ and other spreadsheet programs. Also, any software that can output its data as a spreadsheet can potentially be a database source for a mail merge.

How to Mail Merge

You can learn more about how to mail merge labels, cards and more with our step-by-step tutorial on how to mail merge using Design & Print. Our guide walks through all of the steps in the mail merge process to help make your next project a little easier.

Microsoft®, Excel®, Google Docs™, Google Sheets™ and Microsoft Outlook® are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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