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Today's author, Eric Patterson, a Program Manager on the Excel team, describes how to use Excel Tables as a source for a mail merge – a great productivity tool for sending out holiday greeting cards! :) Eric wrote this before the holidays but unfortunately I was out of the office and didn’t get to post this until now. Very useful nonetheless.
At this time of the year I find myself preparing to send out a large number of greeting cards to friends and family. I have most of my addresses in Excel with columns for FirstName, LastName, Address, City, State and Postal Code. The workbooks looks like this:
If you're like me, you don't keep your address list up to date and you don't print envelopes often. I have a number of addresses that I know are correct but there are others that I need to confirm before printing them out. Given the number that I need to do for the holidays, I do want to get started though.
Creating a Table
The first step is to create a Table from the list of addresses.
Defining a Name for the Table
Excel allows you to define names that apply to a range of cells in the worksheet. When a name is defined for a Table in a worksheet, the name will update automatically as the table is resized to add or remove data. This is helpful in this case because I want to add and remove addresses during the process of printing envelopes.
After my Table is created and a name applied, I start going through the addresses to confirm which ones are correct. I do this by adding a new column to the Table for this year. To do this, just type 2008 in cell H2. The Table and the name that we defined will expand automatically. Once you have the new column, then you can type something in the column to indicate whether the address is correct. I used a "Y" in my list.
Sorting the List
Next I want to separate the table into 2 tables; one for confirmed addresses and one for those that need to be updated.
Here is what the sorted table looks like:
Separating the Tables
The next step is to cut and paste the unconfirmed addresses to another sheet in the workbook
Start the Mail Merge
The steps above created a workbook containing a table of addresses on one sheet that has a name (Addresses) defined that corresponds to the table range. The remaining steps will show how to create the mail merge in Word to create envelopes.
The Word document is now connected to the Table in Excel.
Adding the Address Block and Previewing Envelopes
Next you can insert the address block into your envelope and preview the results
How do I finish my Envelopes?
As you validate more of your addresses, or if you want to send a card to someone that wasn't on your original list, follow these steps:
More information about creating mailing labels with Excel and Word.