WD98: How to Create a Merge Document Using Excel Data

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This article provides detailed instruction on creating a simple mail merge using data stored in a Microsoft Excel workbook. By following these instructions, you will create a form letter (main document), select the Excel data document, and merge the information in the two documents into a third document.

More information

The following is general information about the appropriate format for a Microsoft Excel worksheet that will be used as a data document in a simple Microsoft Word mail merge.

The data should be in the first worksheet in the Excel workbook. While the data can be in a named range, for this simple merge, the worksheet should contain only the data for the merge. The data should start in the first row of the first column. The first row of data (header row) should contain the field names that will be used to refer to the various columns of data. The field names should be free of punctuation and should consist of a single word per field. Each column that has data in it must have a field name at the top of that column.

   A1:FName B1:LName C1:Address1   D1:Address2
   A2:Betty B2:Smith C2:1401 A St. D2:Apt. 5
TIP: Combining information in separate fields in a merge document is easy; however, separating information in a field is difficult. So, when you create a data document, create as many fields as is practical. For example, you may want to put the first name in a field separate from the last name to make it easy to sort the records in the data document by last name. Keeping the first and last name separate will also make it easy to use only the first name in a salutation.

Once you have created and saved your data document in Microsoft Excel, use the following instructions to create a form letter and perform a mail merge using the data stored in the Microsoft Excel worksheet.


To create the main document, follow these steps:
  1. Start Microsoft Word 98 Macintosh Edition by double-clicking the Microsoft Word icon in the Microsoft Office 98 folder.

    The insertion point should be blinking in Document1. This indicates that Document1 is the active document.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Mail Merge.
  3. Under Main Document, click Create, and select Form Letters.
  4. Click Active Window.
  5. Under Data source, click Get Data.

Selecting the Data Source

To select the data source, follow these steps:
  1. From the list of commands under Get Data, click Open Data Source.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains the Excel data document.
  3. Change the List Files Of Type selection if necessary, and then select the data document and click Open.
  4. Click Edit Main Document.


The insertion point should be back in Document1 (that is, Document1 should be the active document) and the Mail Merge toolbar should be visible.

To edit the main document (Document1 in this case), follow these steps:
  1. Type some text in the document.
  2. On the Mail Merge toolbar, click Insert Merge Field, and select a field name from the list.

    Repeat steps 1 and 2 as many times as necessary to create the appropriate text and desired number of merge fields in the main document.

    NOTE: When you merge data, you can use as few or as many of the data fields as you need to and you can use them in any order. Also, each field can be used more than one time.
  3. To save the main document, click Save As on the File menu.

    TIP: The name should indicate that this is a Main document (for example, name the file "My Main Document"). The document should be stored in the same location (folder) as the data document.


To perform the merge, click the Merge To New Document button on the Mail Merge toolbar. This creates a new document containing the results of the merge. This new document can be printed, saved, or deleted without affecting either the main document or the data document.

TIP: Once you have a simple merge working correctly, details can be changed one at a time to increase the complexity of the merge. Be sure to test the merge after each change that is made.


For information about how to do this in other versions of Word, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
141922 WD: How to Start a Mail Merge
For more information about mail merge and data document types, click the Office Assistant, type mail merge data in the query area of the Office Assistant and click Search.

NOTE: If the Assistant is hidden, click the Office Assistant button on the Standard toolbar. If Word Help is not installed on your computer, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
179216 OFF98: How to Use the Microsoft Office Installer Program


Article ID: 178708 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Word 98 for Macintosh
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbhowto kbmerge KB178708

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