How to do a mail merge in Microsoft Word & Excel

Using the mail merge feature of Microsoft Word & Excel, you can create customized letters for a variety of recipients.

Here you'll find a detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do a mail merge in Microsoft Word and Excel, along with free downloadable templates you can use to test the process.

Mail merge in Microsoft Word & Excel

How Word & Excel mail merges work

When you run a mail merge, Microsoft Word connects your Word document to a data source containing data about your recipients (e.g., an Excel containing names and addresses) and automatically inserts the recipient details from the data source.

Word document

Word document

A Word document to be sent to multiple recipients

Excel data source

Excel data source

A list with all recipient data (e.g., an Excel table).

Link data

Link data

Link the document with mail merge fields to the Excel list.

How to do a mail merge in Microsoft Word & Excel:

Use our clear 5-step guide for mail merging in Microsoft Word and Excel. Create, review, and print your merged documents directly from Word.

Word documentExcel data source

Download Word & Excel Template for free

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Create document in Word
Step 1

Create a document in Microsoft Word

Open Microsoft Word and create a new document, such as a letter or invitation. You can also download our letter template and use it instead.

You can leave the address block and salutation empty for now, as these elements will be automatically filled in with the address data from your Excel spreadsheet.

Step 2

Create data source in Microsoft Excel

Next, you need to create an Excel table containing your recipients address data. In the first row, you should create suitable column headings, as they’ll be needed later for mapping into Word. Feel free to download our Excel data source template and use it.

Alternatively, you can use your Outlook contacts as your data source.

Create data source in Excel
Link Microsoft Excel data source with Word
Step 3

Link data source with Microsoft Word

Return to your document in Microsoft Word document and select the "Mailings" tab in the top menu bar.

  • Click on "Select Recipients" in the top bar and select "Use an Existing List" in the drop-down menu.
  • In the following dialog box, choose the Excel file you created (or our data source template) and click "Open".
  • In the "Open Workbook" dialog box, select "Table1" and confirm with "OK". Now the Excel table is linked to your Word document.

Step 4

Insert mail merge fields

To use the data from the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in the address block and in the salutation, you need to insert mail merge fields.

  • To do this, go back to the "Mailings" tab and click on "Insert Merge Field". The entries in the dropdown menu correspond to the column headers of your Excel spreadsheet.
  • Now you can build your address block and the salutation using the mail merge fields. The recipient data will be automatically linked to your document.

Insert mail merge fields
Show preview
Step 5

Show preview

Congratulations! You created a mail merge in Microsoft Word!

To check that your imported recipient data is correct, click on "Preview Results" and navigate with the arrows between the different recipients.

If you want to add new recipients, simply add them to your Excel list. Microsoft Word will automatically update your mail merge letter with the new data.

Problems with creating mail merges in Word & Excel

Creating a mail merge via Microsoft Word & Excel can be nerve-wracking and lead to problems. You can avoid these hassles by using the free Mail Merge Letter Generator to create mail merge letters in seconds and download them for free.

Create mail merge letter online free of charge
Large files

Large files: Mail merge letters with graphics quickly exceed the size limit and cannot be created.


Time consuming: Creating mail merge letters with Microsoft Word and Excel is time consuming.

Paid programs

Programs with costs: If you don't already subscribe to Word and Excel, you have to buy a license to use them.

Complicated postprocessing

Complicated post-processing: Additional recipients are difficult to add afterwards.