What Is Mail Merge?


Quick Answer

Mail merge allows a user to do mass mailings using boiler-plate copy and a list of names and addresses as data fields. By merging the boiler-plate with the address file, it is possible to print out a mass mailing without typing and addressing the letters one at a time.

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Full Answer

Many commonly used software programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases and some email programs include mail merge features. To format boiler-plate, a user first types the letter he wishes to mail to a list of clients. Once the text of the letter is finished, in order to make the boiler-plate mergeable, it must be formatted with data markers that tell the mail merge where to place addresses, names and other information. For instance, the body of the boiler-plate letter includes markers such as [address] and [client name] enclosed in brackets. The names of these data markers must be unique and must be the same as the ones used to build the address file for the mail merge.

Building a file of addresses to merge with a letter means typing the data elements in the same order they’re to be used in the boiler-plate. Data fields in the address file must also have the same names as data markers in the letter.

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