GWKB1106 : Window-Eyes and Mail Merge with Word 2007

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Jeremy Curry
Date Added: 07/23/2009
Last Modified: 07/23/2009

Mail Merge with Word 2007

Microsoft Word provides you with the ability to mail merge. First, what is mail merge? It is where you have a form letter, and have multiple recipients to mail the letter to. Let's be clear that this is regular paper mail, and not email. Although it is possible to do a mail merge for email, this guide will only focus on postal mail. This might be a letter that you want to send out to hundreds of people. With a mailing that big, you do not want to type in each name manually. The form letter will have various fields that can change, such as the beginning of the letter that starts with Dear John, where the name "John" will change depending on the person you are sending the letter to. Mail merge creates letters and inserts the appropriate variables automatically, saving you a great deal of time.

Now that you know what a mail merge is, how do you make one? Before you can make the form letter, we first need to create a list of addresses. We will make just a basic example of what a mail merge can do, so we will not make the list very big.

Creating the Address List

To make the list of addresses, we need to create them in Excel for this example. This article will assume that you already know how to navigate in Excel. If not, you should reference the Window-Eyes Manual, or sign up for a Window-Eyes Training class at www.gwmicro.com/training.

Type the following information into the cells noted below:
A1: Title
B1: First Name
C1: Last Name
D1: Address 1
E1: City
F1: State
G1: Zip

Row 2 will be where we start typing in fake addresses for our mail merge example. Type in the following information into the specified cells:

A2: Mr.
B2: Aaron
C2: Long
D2: 123 Maple Street
E2: Denver
F2: CO
G2: 80201

A3: Mr.
B3: Mike
C3: Short
D3: 456 Oak Road
E3: Fort Wayne
F3: IN
G3: 46825

A4: Mrs.
B4: Sue
C4: Moore
D4: 789 Pine Street
E4: Woodburn
F4: IN
G4: 46797

After you have typed in the above information in the appropriate cells, save the workbook, and call it MailMergeList.xlsx. Remember the location where you saved this file.

Now, close Excel and open Word.

Starting the Mail Merge


To begin the mail merge, you will need to access the Mailings tab by pressing ALT-M. Then, press S to activate the Start Mail Merge drop-down button. The menu will open for the drop-down button. Press the DOWN ARROW until you hear, "Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard," and press ENTER.

A task pane will open, and you are automatically placed within the task pane. Note that if you ALT-TAB away from the document, and then back into the document, focus will be out of the task pane, and instead, in the document area. If this happens, press F6 until you are back in the task pane. There are several radio buttons to choose from. Select the Letters radio button, and then press TAB. You will be taken to a link called, "Next: Starting document." Press ENTER to activate the link.

The task pane repopulates with the next step, and you are given more radio buttons to choose from. Use your ARROW keys until you hear, "Use the current document." Then, press TAB until you get to the link called Next: Select recipients. Press ENTER on this link.

There will be several radio buttons that populate the task pane, and the first is the Use an existing list radio button. Press TAB to get to the Browse link. Browse to the location where you saved MailMergeList.xlsx, TAB to the Open button, and press ENTER.

The Select Table dialog will open. When you created MailMergeList.xlsx, you put the information in worksheet one. In the Select Table dialog, you will find an item called Sheet1$ by pressing the UP or DOWN ARROW keys. Press TAB, and you will move to a checkbox called "First row of data contains column headers." Leave this checkbox checked. This tells Word not to use your first row, where you put Title, First Name, etc. TAB to the OK button, and press ENTER.

The Mail Merge Recipients dialog will open. This is a list of all recipients found in the worksheet you created. All recipients are selected by default. You can unselect a recipient by pressing SPACE on the recipient you want to unselect. There are other options in this dialog that you can TAB to. For example, you can TAB to the Sort link, and sort the items alphabetically. Or, you can TAB to the Find duplicates link, and rid the list of any duplicate information. Once you have modified the list of the recipients to your liking, TAB to the OK button, and press ENTER.

You are placed back in the document area, so you must press F6 to navigate back to the task pane. Then, press TAB until you get to the link called, "Next: Write your letter" and press ENTER.

You are still in the task pane, but this time, you need to be in the document area, so press F6.

Changing Styles to Fit Your Letter

You are at the top of the page. The next step is optional, but to get a business letter to look visually correct, assuming you are indeed writing a business letter, it may be best to change the style of the document as to not have to worry about excess spacing. If you choose to do this, you can change to the Word 2003 style by doing the following:

1. Press Alt-H to get to the Home tab
2. Press G for Change Styles
3. Press ENTER on Style Set
4. DOWN ARROW to Word 2003
5. Press ENTER
Now the style of your document does not contain extra spacing between lines, and you can begin writing a business letter, which is the style we are going to use for this example..

Inserting Fields for the Mail Merge

At the top of the document, type the date. Then, press ENTER four times. This is where we want to insert the address of our recipient. We can have mail merge automatically insert each address for each recipient by taking the information from our Excel workbook that we made earlier. Press F6 to navigate to the task pane, and press ENTER on the Address Block link.

The Insert Address Block dialog will open. This dialog allows you to decide how you want information displayed in the letter. For example, the first list box lets you select how you want your recipient's name inserted in the letter. You can choose from using just the first name to using the full name, as well as other options in between. For this example, we want to insert the recipient's full name and address. By default, all of the appropriate checkboxes are checked, so you can TAB until you get to the OK button, and press ENTER.

Press SHIFT-F6 to access the document area. Note that an Address Block field has been inserted. Since this field is a variable, this field will update with the address for each person from our Excel worksheet once we finish the mail merge.

Press ENTER twice, and here is where we can insert a greeting. Again, the greeting is a variable that can be updated by Word for each person. Press F6 to get back to the task pane, and then TAB until you get to the Greeting Line link. Press ENTER and the Insert Greeting Line dialog will open. If you chose to accept the defaults, each person will be greeted with the following format, "Dear Mr. Short," or "Dear Sir or Madam," if a recipient does not have a name. You may choose to change these options, but we will accept the defaults for this example. TAB until you get to the OK button, and press ENTER. The dialog will close and you will need to get back to the document area by pressing SHIFT-F6.

You will notice that a Greeting Line field has been inserted. Note that when creating fields like this one, as well as the Address Block field, you are not currently able to see the address or the greeting. Instead, you will only see the fields as these are both variables that will be filled in with the address or recipient's name as part of the mail merge.

Next, you can write your letter. Press ENTER twice to put in a double-space. In this example, we will simply put, "This is the body of my letter." Then, we will double-space again by pressing ENTER twice, and put "Best Regards," followed by another double space, and then type your name.

Press F6, and TAB to the Next: Preview your letters link, and press ENTER.

You can then press SHIFT-F6 to get back to the document area, and review what your letter will look like.

Completing the Mail Merge

Press F6 to get back to the task pane, and then TAB until you get to the Next: Complete the merge link and press ENTER.

Press ENTER on the Print link. The Merge to Printer dialog will open, and allow you to print all letters, just one letter, or only certain letters. TAB to the OK button and press ENTER.

Your printer dialog will open, and you will need to TAB to a Print or OK button, and press ENTER to begin printing.

Congratulations! You have just successfully created a mail merge!