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How to do a Mail Merge in Word Using Access Data


This document assumes the use of "Select Clients" which is on the Reports Tab of SSW Time PRO! If you are not a Time PRO! user please read on as the instructions are still usable.

Mail merging is a process whereby merge fields interspersed through your standard or boilerplate text are replaced from a data source when printed. This feature allows you to send a one document to many recipients, with the correct details for each.

How is this done using Microsoft Word and Access?

It's easy! Just start Word. Select Tools/Mail Merge

Invoking Mail Merge Menu

Figure 1: Invoking the Mail Merge Menu

A Wizard called the Mail Merge Helper will appear. The first step is to tell it which document will contain the merge fields.

Mail Merge Helper

Figure 2: The Mail Merge Helper

You can choose to use the currently open Word document or to open another.

Choosing Document

Figure 3: Choosing a document to merge to

If you want to use Access as the source of data for your merge fields, choose the "Open Data Source " option, under the "Get Data" item.

Opening Link to Access

Figure 4: Opening a Link to Access

This will open up a file navigation dialog box, such as shown below. Use this dialog box to point to the correct Access database file which contains the merge field information. For example, if you are using Time PRO! then select C:\Timepro\Ssw97.mdb.

Selecting RightAccess Database

Figure 5: Selecting the right Access database

Since a single database can contain more than one table, a further dialog box appears enabling you to choose which table (or query) you wish to use a source for your merge fields. In this case, the "SelectClient" table is selected.

Choosing A Table

Figure 6: Choosing a table from a large database

The merge fields will appear in a temporary toolbar in Word, corresponding to the field names in the "SelectClient" table. click it, and a drop-down selection of merge fields appears. Just select a field and it is inserted into the document.

Drop Down Selection

Figure 7: A drop down selection of merge fields to choose from

In this example, the merge fields from "SelectClient" table have been inserted in between the standard text. Once merged, the correct value of each record will be substituted where the merge fields are located.

Mixing With Boiler plate Text

Figure 8: Mixing your boilerplate text with the merge fields

Now that the document is done, are you ready for the merge? If you don't want to use all the records in the "SelectClient" table then you can either delete unwanted records through the SelectClient form (in Time PRO!) Or you can use the "Query Options" in the Mail Merge Helper.

Query Options

Figure 9: Mail Merge Helper Query Options

Clicking on "Query Options" brings up a control which lets you choose a part of your table. In this example, the user is limiting the mail merge only to those whose suburb is "Chatswood".

Refining Records

Figure 10: Refining the records which will be merged into the document

The Mail Merge helper will now let you output the result in a variety of ways. You might want to examine the mail merge before you print it. Select "Merge to: New document". This will create a single document containing all the letters that would have been printed had you chosen to. You can look through it to see that no awkward substitutions have taken place.

To Document

Figure 11: This creates one document containing each merge instance

When you are satisfied, select "Merge to Printer" or "Merge to Email". This will create one document for each instance, using the boilerplate text and subsitituting the correct details in each case.

To Printer

Figure 12: Selecting "Merge to Printer" means the printing will print each merge instance as a separate document