This is the final in a series of 3 articles on using office applications (though if you want more, drop me an e-mail) - next time I will look at Google Photos and share a money saving tip on online shopping.
Sometimes, you might just want to send the same letter to lots of different people but you don’t want it to sound too pre-fabricated right? You might have answered yes to this question, if you have recently moved address or about to, you probably have lots of people and businesses you need to tell your change of details. If you’re a business, then you might want to send to your business contacts, or pull in information from a client file and an accounting system to create personalized invoices each month (I’ve already provided such a solution for Quesada Laundry Services).
The letter or invoice, or whatever it is will always essentially the same for each recipient, but just needs key details from another source; the recipients address, maybe your reference number/account number and so on.
For this exercise we’re going to develop a change of address letter – I usually start off with a draft letter.
Your first job, to save a bit of time is to head on over to http://shop.all-tech-plus.com in the Software section and order and download the free resources – you’ll get a draft letter, a sample excel spreadsheet & the completed merged letter too - so if you really get stuck you can just use mine and change the letter. I can only cover the basics here but there is so much more that can be done. If you do want to learn more, remember you can always book lessons with me on my main website http://www.all-tech-plus.com and I am also available to develop solutions for your business.
Take a look at the draft letter now. Your first job is to replace the lime green highlighted information with your own. Save the document as my-change-of-address-sep-2016 or something similar.
Next create yourself a blank spreadsheet, and in the top row, from cell A1, enter, RECIPIENTS NAME, then in the next cell along R-ADDR1 (for recipient address line 1), then R-ADDR2, R-ADDR3, R-ADDR4, POSTCODE, GREETING NAME,ACCOUNT NO/REF,SORT CODE,ANY OTHER INFO. Your spreadsheet should look like:
Now, all you need to do is fill in a few details in rows 2, 3, 4 and so on of people or places you would notify – it’s worth doing this exercise and keeping the spreadsheet up to date even if you aren’t moving so that whenever you do, you won’t forget anyone. If you wish, you can use the excel spreadsheet provided to test with, or as a reference if you’re not sure what you should be filling in where on your own sheet but it is fairly self explanatory. Close the spreadsheet when you are done (important!).
Now for the next steps, I’ve created a little tutorial video which you can find on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCac6-w51Fk9NnT6_qEhRSSA), but in text form, you need to open up your letter which you edited previously, and find the ‘MAILINGS’ tab, and select Start Mail Merge. Choose the step-by-step Mail Merge Wizard (this is the easiest way until you’ve at least got the hang of it). Options will appear in the bar on the right of your screen. There are 6 steps, you should be able to click Next: to go straight to step 2. Then next again, because you will be using the document you have got open (your letter). Step 3 is selecting the recipients, look for ‘Browse…’ which is using an existing list (your excel spreadsheet).
Click OK on the next box after this one as well, then move on to step 4 (write your letter).
Highlight the recipient’s name with your mouse, and then find on the mailings tab, ‘Insert Merge Field’ – select RECIPIENTS_NAME, move down and do the same with recipients address 1 (RADDR1) and all the other yellow highlighted bits. You can test to see if things are working by clicking on ‘Preview Results’ and then stepping backwards and forwards through the records. If you have an entry where no sort code has been specified, it might look a little odd (for this you need to experiment with the Rules, specifically if…then…else – it’s beyond the scope of this article but if you want to learn more, please do book a lesson or training session at http://goo.gl/0QG18D).
To put in todays date automatically, highlight the pink text go to the INSERT tab and select Date & Time.
If you have a scanner, write down your signature, scan it in, and include and resize the scan instead of the khaki green highlight.
Once you’re satisfied, move on to Finish & Merge and select the print option (it’s also possible to e-mail the letters, you’d need an extra field in your excel sheet for the e-mail address of each recipient).
If you’re using a different version of Word and Excel and are stuck, e-mail me with which version you are using and I’ll try and point you in the right direction.
You may find additional information on Mark’s website including previous articles – please do visit and signup for his newsletter.