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The If field compares two values and then inserts the text appropriate to the result of the comparison. When used in a mail merge main document, the If field can examine information in the merged data records, such as postal codes or account numbers. For example, you can send letters to only those clients located in a particular city.

You can use the If field in a document, or you can use the If field as part of an If-Then-Else rule in a mail merge.

To use the If field in a document, do the following:

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts, and then click Field.

  2. In the Field names list, select If.

  3. In the Field codes box, type the expressions, operator, true text, and false text, following the syntax shown above.

  4. Click OK.

To use the If field as part of a mail merge, do the following while you are setting up the mail merge:

  1. On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, click Rules, and then click If...Then...Else.

  2. In the Field name list, select the name of a merge field, such as City.

  3. In the Comparison list, select the operator that you want. For example, to single out recipients in a particular city, select Equal to.

  4. In the Compare to box, type the value that you want to use. For example, to single out recipients in Tokyo, type Tokyo.

    Note: If you selected is blank or is not blank in the Comparison list, leave the Compare to box empty.

  5. In the Insert this text box, type the text that you want to appear in the document when the condition that you specified is true. For example, to customize the text for recipients in Tokyo, you can type especially for your Tokyo neighborhood.

  6. In the Otherwise insert this text box, type the text that you want to appear in the document when the condition that you specified is not true. For example, to provide generic text for recipients who are not in Tokyo, you can type especially for your surrounding neighborhood.


When you view the If field code in your document, the syntax looks like this:

{ IF Expression1OperatorExpression2TrueTextFalseText}

Note: A field code tells the field what to show. Field results are what is shown in the document after having evaluated the field code. To toggle between viewing the field code and the field code results, press Alt+F9.


Expression1, Expression2

Values that you want to compare. These expressions can be merge field data, bookmark names, strings of characters, numbers, nested fields that return a value, or mathematical formulas. If an expression contains spaces, enclose the expression in quotation marks.


  • Expression2 must be enclosed in quotation marks so that it is compared as a character string.

  • If the operator is = or <>, Expression2 can contain a question mark (?) to represent any single character or an asterisk (*) to represent any string of characters.

  • If you use an asterisk in Expression2, the portion of Expression1 that corresponds to the asterisk and any remaining characters in Expression2 cannot exceed 128 characters.


Comparison operator. Insert a space before and after the operator.




Equal to


Not equal to


Greater than


Less than


Greater than or equal to


Less than or equal to

TrueText, FalseText

Text that results when the comparison is true (TrueText) or false (FalseText). If FalseText isn't specified and the comparison is false, the IF field has no result. Each string containing multiple words must be enclosed in quotation marks.


The following example specifies that if the customer order is greater than or equal to 100 units, the text "Thanks" appears in the document. If the customer order is fewer than 100 units, the text "The minimum order is 100 units" appears in the document.

{IF order>=100 "Thanks" "The minimum order is 100 units"}

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