Following are instructions to create a simple mail merge using a single letter. You need a form letter and a data file. Use Microsoft Word for Windows to create the form letter and your Blackbaud program to create the data file.
To perform a conditional mail merge, refer to How to create a conditional mail merge letter.
A mail merge is the function in a word processor that produces multiple letters or labels by combining a form letter and a data file. The form letter is the shell used for design. The data file contains the variable information (usually name, address, and salutation for a letter). A simple merge combines one data file and one form letter or label to produce the same letter for all of the records in the data file; however, the letters are personalized for each record in the data file.
For information on using a series of merge documents and one data file and one or more conditional statements, refer to How to create a conditional mail merge.
Creating the Form Letter
- Select Tools, Mail Merge from the menu bar. The Mail Merge Helper screen appears.
- Click Create and select Form Letters. Click Active Window.
- To attach your data file, click Get Data, and then select Open Data Source. Select the appropriate file. The data file usually has a .dat extension. A screen appears stating that Word found no merge fields in Main Document. Click Edit Main Document.
Note: If you are having difficulty locating the data file, refer to the Control Report you printed from your program for the name and location.
A blank document and the Mail Merge toolbar should appear on the screen. This empty document is the actual document in which you will create the body of your letter.
- To insert a date that will change to the current date when this letter is merged, select Insert, Date and Time from the menu bar. Highlight the desired format and click OK.
- Click Insert Merge Field. A list of the fields in the data file appears. This list is also referred to as a header record. To place a field in the letter, click Insert Merge Field, then highlight and click the desired field. Continue inserting text and fields until the form file is completed.
- The merge process can now begin. Select Tools, Mail Merge from the menu bar.
- Click Merge. The Merge screen appears.
- In the Merge To field, select the merged letters' destination: your printer or a new document. If you send the merge to a new document, you can view the letters on the screen before printing. Select the appropriate option.
- In the When Merging Records frame, select the option Don't print blank lines when data fields are empty.
- Click Merge. The document merges all of the fields.