How to do a Mail Merge – With more than one record per page

I opted to learn how to use the mail merge features of MS Word linked to Excel, as each year my wife goes on about the hassles that she gets whilst trying to mail 4000 people & how difficult it is to get it right.

So this is what I learnt as I cracked the issues that she couldn’t, so this time next year her job will be that much easier.

I thought I’d add it as a blog post for two reasons, first to help you and second to remind me how to do it.

The first thing you need to do a mail merge is some data in Excel, I made up the following:

mailmerge-excel

Next launch Word and write a letter.

Next click the Mailings tab, Start Mail Merge drop down and select Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard

Now for the fun bit, work your way through the wizard, select an your Excel file to use & add to the existing letter an Address Block from the left menu, this will add in the address for each person, then choose a Greeting Line both of these two options reduces the amount of work that you have to put into your letter and personalises it to the max.

mailmerge-word

Now to cover one of problems my wife was having, she wanted to being able to have 3 letters printed to 1 page, thus saving on paper. if you just copy and paste the text 3 times on the one Word document then this doesn’t work, it’ll just repeat the same persons name and address 3 times.

The way you get around this is by requesting the next record, do this by marking the start of the next block with «Next Record»

before the request for «AddressBlock», so you’ll have your next record starting with:

«Next Record»«AddressBlock»

Time format, by default you’ll get all sorts of weird time formats. To change what time format gets displayed you need to editing the field code with Edit Field… this is available by selecting it on a right click on the current field, in this case on the merge field marked «Time» Then Field Codes button and add the following to get just the hours without any seconds.

MERGEFIELD Time \@ "HH:mm"

The above information mixed with a little bit of trial and error with make you a master at the Mail Merge functionality of MS Office.

Top Tip: If at any point you feel that the Mail Merge Wizard is not doing what you ask it to do, then it most probably isn’t. Its a complete wind up and learning how to do a mail merge by using the menu bar tools is the best advice I can give.

Second Top Tip: If at any point you want to remove the mail merge information from the word document, do so by opening the document, click on the Mailings tab, click the down arrow under the Start Mail Merge button, click on Normal Word Document. This will disconnect the Word document from the source document.

If you get a date out as 1899 then read this to explain all and fix the issue

Image below shows how I manage to get multiple postcards on one page, each postcard reads a separate record:

MailMerge-ImageClick image to enlarge, it’ll show that I have «AddressBlock» , «GreetingLine» , «Date» , «Time» inserted into the merge, each postcard is in a Text box, with smaller text boxes inside. This then keeps each merge record together, so when a «NextRecord» is called it knows where to put the details without missing any information. Like the issue that Karen is having below, if you read the comments.

34 comments

  1. Karen Jones

    The page that I will end up I want to quarter so I have 4 post cards per page. On each post card I want different student’s information (student’s last name, student’s first name, student’s middle name, teacher’s name, grade). On my template I put on 3 of the post cards before each last name. When I merge, it is skipping student’s names. Can you help. Thanks.

  2. Karen Jones

    Still working with it. It is merging the correct first, middle, last names, teacher name, but it is not picking up the correct test score. I am using the next record although it is nowhere on the 1st record. Next record is inserted on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th records only.

  3. Raymond Reid

    Only use Next Record once at the start of each postcard and not on the first postcard. Try that, see if it helps.
    In the meantime relax by listening to some music we put together on the FrozenVeg website : frozenvegproject.wordpress.com🙂

  4. Karen Jones

    Thank you. That is what I have, and for some reason the student’s score is not correct. In my Excel spreadsheet, each row has the name, teacher’s name, score. On the Word document the names are printing correct but the 1st score being pulled is from Row #3 and it is duplicated on the second record. The 3rd record has the score from Row #5 and it is duplicated on the 4th record.

    • Karen Jones

      Hello Raymond,

      I believe that the info I need on the mail merge is right at my fingertips and unfortunately I am not able to click on your image to expand it.

      Karen Jones Corinth School District 1204 N. Harper Rd Corinth, MS 38834 Ph (662) 287-2425 Ext. 106 Fax (662) 286-1885 kjones@corinth.k12.ms.us

  5. Karen Jones

    Hello Raymond. Thank you for the work you have put into answering my question on mail merge. Unfortunately I am not able to click on your image and I believe that would answer my problem if I could see your image.

    • Mike

      I too cannot click on the image.
      Trying to print 4 documents to a page in Word 2013 going into the print options and selecting 4 per page just prints 1 record in the top corner and the rest are blank

  6. myinnerg

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. This is exactly the information that I was looking for, I shall try it out now and get my mail campaign together. Many thanks again!

  7. MikeB

    This is great – I have one other query though. I am making raffle tickets and have to a page, but on subsequent pages it goes back to the second value. For example: I have ticket number 101, 102, 103 on page one and then page two goes 102, 103, 104… how can I keep it going consecutively?

    • llwilson57

      I’m having the same problem. I’m merging two records on each page. The last value on each page is repeated as the first value on the following page even through I have put the “Next Record” command in front of each field code.

  8. Thakgudi

    I had the same problem with student cards. I designed a full page student card and merged it to my students list. I finished the merge and clicked edit individual document and selected all. When this is complete I clicked file then print and chosen 8 pages per sheet. Try it.

  9. Alexis

    I think this will help me solve a problem. I have a document that works well for printing three per page in Publisher, but have just tried adding mail merge fields to personalize it.

    Silly Question: Could you detail how to to add the <> merge field? Do I just add it as a column header in my excel spreadsheet? THANK YOU!

  10. Cindy Carmichael

    Hello. I am trying to merge more than one record into a text box (so I can merge more than one record side by side). I have read through the info above but keep getting an error stating “You cannot include DATA, NEXT, NEXTIF, or SKIPIF fields in comments, headers, footers, footnotes, or end notes.” Please Help???

  11. gogaylego1222

    OMG having the same issue…trying to print 4 “labels” per sheet, but getting 4 duplicates of label on each sheet (sheet 1 has four of label 1, sheet 2 has 4 of label 2, and so on). I have done the “Update Label” step and see <> three times, but still no luck…I have tried printing (in case the preview was inaccurate), but it does the same thing. Unable to Merge to PDF, gives me an error of “Unsupported Word Field” (that being Next Record). Help, please!

    • gogaylego1222

      That should have said have done the “Update Label” step and see <> three times, but still no luck

      Should it be <> or or something else?

      • gogaylego1222

        Upon further Googling, I’ve discovered that the issue is using Mail Merge fields inside a text box, which is exactly what I’ve done. I’ll rethink my strategy, sounds like using tables is the way to go.

  12. aa

    Thanx heaps… was scouring the web for solutions to printing multiple records on one page & found yours working almost perfectly….🙂
    requires a little bit of tweaking but the end result was as required.

  13. John M Givens

    This worked just as I wanted to do – and had about given up on how to do it.
    I am creating 4″x6″ horizontal layout post cards with return address and recipient address. The Avery forms I’m using have two postcards per page so I set up my mail-merge “letter” by making two copies – top and bottom. Since I want address #1 to print at the top and address #2 to print at the bottom – I inserted the Next Record” field at the first line in the bottom post card. I found it uner the Rules item on the Mailings Menu.

    Worked just like I wanted. Thanks.

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