BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 1999

  

 

BOOT CAMP 095

MANAGING A MAIL SHOT PART 2

In last week's episode of Boot Camp we looked at how to set up the Mail Merge facility in Word 97. Mail Merge is a simple and efficient means of managing a mailshot, personalising a large number or letters or forms with the recipient's name and address. This week we'll be bringing the various elements together and printing the finished letters and envelopes or labels.

If you were following part one you should now have safely filed away on your PC a Mail Merge compatible address book containing the names and addresses of all of the people you are writing to and your standard letter or form. The next step is to specify where the names and addresses are going to appear on the letter. Begin by opening your letter or form then click on Mail Merge on the Tools menu to start the Helper wizard.

As before click on the item 1 button 'Create', then Form Letters and the 'Active Window' button, to signify that the document on the screen is the one you will be working on. Next, click Button 2 'Data Source', select Open Data Source and locate your address book file from the directory window, click on the file icon the dialogue boxes will disappear and your letter is displayed on the screen. You will see that a new tool bar has been added to the desktop, if it hasn't then right-click into an empty area on the toolbars and select Mail Merge from the drop-down menu.

Last week we suggested that you should keep a recipient's title separate from the rest of their name in the address book, the reason for that will now become apparent. Insert the cursor immediately after the salutation (i.e. 'Dear') and click on the Insert Merge Field button. On the drop-down menu select Title or FirstName from the list -- depending how familiar or personal you want the letter to be -- i.e. Dear John, or Dear Mr XXX. When you click on the entry  <<Title>> or <<FirstName>> appears on the line. If you've gone for the 'Dear Mr' option insert a space after Mr, go back to the Insert Merge Field button and select LastName and <<LastName>> is inserted; don't forget to add a comma after the name. If you want to see how this looks click on the 'ABC' icon on the Mail Merge toolbar and the first name in your address book will be shown, click ABC again and it reverts to the field names.

Now you can start to assemble the name and address lines in the same way, by putting the cursor where you want the various bits of information to be inserted. To add the date to the letter position the cursor, go to the Insert menu, click on Field then Date and Time in the Categories window then Date in the Field Names pane opposite and click OK. Check how it looks once again with the ABC icon. Whilst in the preview mode you can step through the other names and addresses by clicking on the Next Record arrows (to the right of the ABC icon on the Mail Merge toolbar). When you are happy with it return to the Mail Merge screen (click ABC to show the field names) select the Mail Merge Helper icon then item 3 'Merge'. Click on the Merge button and it is done. All of your letters will appear as one long document, which you can print out as normal.

The last job is to use Mail Merge to generate a set of address labels or print directly to envelopes the procedure is very similar to creating a letter or form. Open a blank document; click on Mail Merge on the Tools menu and then the Create button. From the drop-down list choose Mailing Labels or Envelopes, then click on the Active Window button. Next click item 2, 'Get Data' and Open Data Source to select your address book file once again. Click on the Set Up Main Document button and you will be asked to indicate the type and size of label or envelope. When that's done the Create Label or Envelope window appears, into which you position the recipients name and address, from the Insert Merge Field drop down menu. Click Ok when you have finished, close the Mail Merge Helper window and the label sheet or an envelope appears on the screen. Click on the ABC icon to see what it looks like. If all's well return to the Mail Merge Helper window, click item 3 'Merge', then the Merge button on the next dialogue box and the label sheets or envelopes are ready to print.

Next week – faxing from Windows

 

JARGON FILTER

DATA SOURCE

A file used to store a particular type of information is kept, such as names and addresses

FIELD

A field is a receptacle or container on a document for information that changes, such as a date, page number or name and address on a mail merge letter or form

WIZARD

A self-activating program that guides you through a simple set-up routine for a particular feature or application

 

TOP TIP

Here's one for the many fans of Word 97's labour-saving keyboard shortcuts. As you may have discovered there is no master list of shortcuts in Word Help and tracking down a specific command -- there are more than 200 of them -- or finding out if a particular one even exists, can be a frustrating and time-consuming business. Wonder no more, here's an easy way to print out a complete list of Word shortcuts and commands, to keep by your PC for quick reference.

Go to the Tools menu and click on Macro then Macros. In the 'Macros In' drop-down menu select Word Commands, now move your mouse pointer to the Macro Name pane and highlight ListCommands, click Run and in the dialogue box that appears select Current Menu and Keyboard Settings and click OK. A new document will open, with a table showing all of the available commands and shortcuts. Just use Save As to give it a name and print it out. Be warned in its raw form it runs to around 9 pages (12pt text) but with a little judicious editing of the commands you'll never need or use it can be trimmed to a more manageable 5 to 6 pages.

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