What is a Mail Merge?
What is Mail Merge?
Mail Merge is an ideal solution for creating formal announcements, form letters, or any other type of document that you want to mail in bulk to a large number of people, yet you want to customize to appear more personal.
The final document is based on a Mail Merge template that contains both fixed content and placeholders, called merge fields. These placeholders represent unique data (for example, recipients' actual names and addresses) that is stored in your database. The fixed content, on the other hand, consists of custom text you create either from scratch within Mail Merge or from an existing text document stored on your local computer. The fixed text content can even include a graphic, such as a photograph or your church logo.
When you run Mail Merge, the process outputs a document that contains both the fixed text content typed in the template and the actual values from your database as represented by the merge fields (placeholders) you insert.
For example, suppose you are creating a template of a letter to welcome new members. The salutation in the template might contain the following fixed text and merge fields:
Dear <Title> <Firstname> <Lastname>,
The body of your welcome letter follows the salutation. When you run Mail Merge, a welcome letter is generated for each record you pre-select from the grid (for example, on the Family List page). Using our example, when you run the Mail Merge and view the merged data, the following output is generated for the salutation:
Dear Mr. Henry Abing,
Note that the merge fields in the salutation, <Title> <Firstname> <Lastname>, are replaced with actual values from the corresponding fields in your database, and the fixed text, "Dear" and the comma punctuation (,) remain unchanged.
As you can see, you can produce multiple letters from a single template, yet by adding merge fields you can ensure that each document or letter appears personalized for your recipients.