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How to Create a Recipient List in Word 2013

Unless you already have recipient lists built and saved in Word 2013, you need to make one from scratch. This process involves setting up the list, removing unneeded fields that Word annoyingly preselects for you, adding the fields you truly need, and finally, filling in the list. It’s quite involved, so follow along closely.

Follow these steps to create a new recipient list:

  1. Create and save the main document.

    Creating the recipient list works the same no matter what type of mail merge document you created.

  2. On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, choose Select Recipients→Type a New List.

    If this option isn’t available, you haven’t properly created the main document. Otherwise, you see the New Address List dialog box.

    image0.jpg

    Word assumes that you need a dozen or so fields for your mail merge, which is silly because it’s more than you need. So the next set of steps removes the surplus fields and replaces them with the fields your document requires.

  3. Click the Customize Columns button.

    The Customize Address List dialog box appears, displaying fields that Word assumes you need. Such foolishness cannot be tolerated.

  4. Select a field that you do not need.

    Click it with the mouse.

  5. Click the Delete button.

  6. Click Yes in the confirmation dialog box.

    The keyboard shortcut for the Yes button is the Y key. Oh, and the keyboard shortcut for the Delete button (refer to Step 5) is D. Typing D and then Y deletes the selected field.

  7. Repeat Steps 4 through 6 for each field you don’t need.

    After removing the excess fields, your next step is to add the fields you need — if any.

    Whether it appears in the message body or not, you need the Email_Address field when you’re merging an e-mail message. Word uses this field so that it knows where to send the message. Don’t delete the field!

    Rather than delete all fields, you can rename some fields to match what you need: Select a field and click the Rename button.

  8. To add a field that’s needed in your document, click the Add button.

    The teeny Add Field dialog box pops into view.

  9. Type the field name and click the OK button.

    • Name the field to reflect the kind of information in it; for example, Shark Bite Location.

    • No two fields can have the same name.

    • Field names can contain spaces but cannot start with a space.

    • Field names can be quite long, though shorter is best.

    • The following characters are forbidden in a field name: . ! ` [ ].

  10. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 for each new field you need in the main document.

    When you're done, review the list. It should match up with the list of ALL CAPS fields in the document (if you chose to create them). Don’t worry if it doesn’t — you can add fields later, though it takes more time.

  11. Click OK.

    You now see customized fields appear as column headings in the New Address List dialog box.

In the final set of steps, you fill in the recipient list. You need to input records, one for each document you plan to create:

  1. Type the first record’s data.

    Type the information that’s appropriate to each field shown in the New Address List dialog box: name, title, evil nickname, planet of origin, and so on.

  2. Press Tab to enter the next field.

    After filling in the last field, you’ll probably want to add another record:

  3. To add a new record, press the Tab key after typing in the last field.

    When you press the Tab key in the last field in a record, a new record is automatically created and added on the next line. Keep filling in data!

  4. Review your work when you're done.

    You can edit any field in any record by selecting it with the mouse.

    If you accidentally add a blank record at the end of the list, click to select it and then click the Delete Entry button. You do this because blank records are still processed in a mail merge, which can result in wasted paper.

  5. Click OK.

    The Save Address List dialog box pops up, allowing you to save the recipient list.

    The recipient lists dwell in the folder named my Data Sources, found in the Documents or my Documents folder. Word automatically chooses (or creates) this folder.

  6. Type a name for the address list.

    Descriptive names are best. After all, you might use the same recipient list again.

  7. Click the Save button.

    You return to the document.

The next step in your mail-merge agony is to stir the fields from the recipient list into the main document.

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