Excel, Word, and

  F o r m   L e t t e r s  

CPT 105 · Franklin College · Erich Prisner · 2002-2006

You can use Word to create form letters, a set of letters with only some details changed, like names and other data. The option is called Mail Merge, since Word merges the letter with the data.

The data could be written in another word file, or also in an Excel file. We will

1. Download and save the Excel file "Formletter.xls".
2. Have a look into it. It is a grade sheet in table form.
3. Now open a new Word file.
Here follows the procedure for Word 2000: Here follows the procedure for Word 2002/2003:
4.Choose the menu "Tools---Mail Merge", and a 3-step dialog pops up. In the first step, choose as main document a form letter, and select the active window. In the second step, click on "get data" and select "open data source". Then find your Excel file (note that you have to look for "all documents", whereas the default option is only word documents!), and click on "entire spreadsheet".  4. Choose the menu "Tools---Letters and Mailings---Mail Merge".  Word 2003 works with a wizard. In the first step you choose the type of document ("Letters") and also "Use the current document". In the second step you choose "Use an existing list" and browse for your Excel sheet. Then you select the records you want to use, usually all.
5. Now you can type your letter. It should be a feedback sheet for your students. To include the name of the corresponding student, click on the button "Insert Merge Field" and choose the field "Name". A placeholder will be included. In the same way you would add information about the grades in the tests, current letter grade, and so on.
6. Assume you also want to include a reminder about the 4-absences policy for those students who did miss already more than four times, and where you lowered the score already accoringy. Click on the "Insert Word Field" Button and select "If..Then..Else". As field name choose "attendence", as comparison choose "greater than" and in the "Compare to" field type a 4. Inthe next field type a text you want to show to those students who missed already more than 4 times. In the other field type a text you want to display to the others.  
7. Now click the "Merge to New Document" button and you get a sequence of letters to your students.  

Here is the Form letter project.


Erich Prisner, November 2004