Configuring Recipient Lists and Mail Merge

Practice Labs Module
21 minutes

The "Configuring Recipient Lists in Word" module provides you with the instructions and devices to develop your hands on skills in the following topics: Defining a Recipient List, Setting Up Mail Merge, Completing a Mail Merge.

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The Configuring Recipient Lists in Word module provides you with the instructions and devices to develop your hands on skills in the following topics.

  • Defining a Recipient List
  • Setting Up Mail Merge
  • Completing a Mail Merge

Lab time: It will take approximately 60 minutes to complete this lab.

Exercise 1 - Defining a Recipient List

When you want to create a mailing to multiple recipients, you don't need to make a separate copy and address a separate envelope to each of them. Instead, you can use Word's Mail Merge feature to create envelopes or mailing labels, create personalized form letters, or even generate email messages for an entire list of people. Before you can do any of these, you must first either create or import a recipient list, with all the information you need for each recipient.

You will learn how to:

  • Create and customize a recipient list
  • Import a recipient list from an external data source
  • Import a recipient list from your Outlook contacts

To appear different to each recipient, a mail merge uses a type of field called a merge field. In the master document, each merge field is a placeholder for a value from the recipient list, such as a name, a street address, or any other information associated with a particular recipient. Once you've composed the master and complete the mail merge, Word creates a separate copy for each recipient, each with that recipient's information.

By default, a recipient list contains a list of records, one for each recipient. Each record contains all the fields you might need to contact that person: first and last name, title and company name, full mailing address, home and work phone numbers, and email address. You can add additional fields if you need them. For example, the owner of a pet-grooming business could include a field with the names of customers' pets and include them in a mailing.

You can create a recipient list from scratch by typing it into Word, but if you already have the information in another form such as a table or database, you can import it instead. You can even create a recipient list from your Outlook contacts. The commands to create a recipient list are found on the Mailings tab, in the Select Recipients menu.

Exercise 2 - Setting Up Mail Merge

Once you have a recipients list, you're ready to actually compose your mail merge by inserting merge fields into a document. You can then preview results, look for errors, and finally execute the merge.

You will learn how to:

  • Insert merge fields
  • Use rules
  • Preview merge results
  • Finalize a mail merge

There are several steps to the mail merge process. You can perform them manually one at a time, using commands on the Mailings tab, or you can use the Mail Merge Wizard to walk you through them, but the process is the same either way. Whichever method you use in practice depends on your tastes, but once you know how to use the manual process, you'll understand how to use the wizard as well.

You can begin a mail merge from a blank document, a document created from a template, or an existing document. If you're performing the mail merge manually, you should open the sort of document you want before you begin the process. If you're using the wizard, you can start the wizard first and open a template or document later. Either way, you begin by clicking Start Mail Merge and selecting a menu option.

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