Mail merge and Office 2011 revisited

Twitter follower Toby Sax is anxious for me to revisit an old Mac 911 column that lays out the steps for creating mail merged documents in Microsoft Word. In a series of tweets Toby writes:

Thanks for your mail merge and Office 2011 article, which I followed to near success. I have these questions:

  • How do you insert an email address from Outlook rather than Apple’s Contacts application?
  • How do you maintain a letter format within the resulting email message?
  • When I tried this the letters went to Outlook’s Drafts folders and not to its Outbox as you suggested. Why?

Thanks for allowing me the chance to revisit this topic, particularly as it lets me answer some outstanding questions that followed it. For the sake of convenience I’ll pull portions of that column (in italics) into this one and answer as I go.

The first step to creating a successful form-letter is understanding that Outlook has nothing to do with designing the thing. Rather, you create mail merge documents within Microsoft Word. And you do it this way in Word 2011.

Choose Tools > Mail Merge Manager. A small Mail Merge Manager window will appear. This window contains six steps, all of which you march through in order to create your document.

mail merge window
The Mail Merge Manager window.

To begin, create a new blank document. Click Create New in the first step and you’ll see that you have the option to create a form letter, label, envelope, or catalog. For our purposes we’ll choose Form Letters.

In the second step click on Get List and choose the source for the data that will be inserted into your form letter—names, addresses, and phone numbers, for example. Your options include New Data Source, Open Data Source, Office Address Book (the one found in Outlook), Apple Address Book (Apple’s Contacts application), and FileMaker Pro. For our purposes, choose Apple Address Book.

Read more of this article on Filemaker Pro here.