Idiots Guide to Mail Merge of Reports using  Word For Windows (most versions)

A step by step guide - print it out for anyone who might need it (white background is for clearer printing).

To mail merge reports, you will need to create 2 things:

1. A ‘template’ for the report with spaces for comments, your school logo, subject logo, space for grades, signature etc. This should be designed and saved as a normal Word document.

2. A ‘data source’ to be ‘mailmerged’ with the template. This is another document which contains all pupil details - names, grades, comments, etc. in a table.

This document explains how to create the data source, and how to mailmerge it with your chosen template:

1. Open your report template. Select Tools>Mail Merge>Main Document ... Create>Form Letters>Active Window.

2. Select ‘Data Source’>Get data>create data source.

You will have to delete all the default current fields and enter the fields for your report: eg Pupil name, perhaps as ‘name’; form; comment etc Then click OK. You will be promted to give this set of fields (data source) a name eg 8T (ie name of the class), and the data source will be saved as a normal Word document.

The next step is to add student comments etc as described in 3 below (ie from within the template), though the alternative method described after step 6 is probably quicker.

3. Select ‘Edit data source’ and fill in all the required data for each student (‘Add New’ takes you to the next student), using the headings from step 2. Speed up this task with the help of the Teachers Report Assistant.

4. When data has been entered, click ‘OK’; you should be returned to the main report document, but with some extra buttons on the toolbar.

5. Click the report template where you intend to enter a field (eg click on the space for the pupil name); now, from the top left of the screen, click ‘Insert merge field’ and select ‘name’ from the list of fields. Repeat this for each of the spaces in the report. Each time, the field name should appear in the relevant gap in the report ‘template’. You will probably want to save this ‘template’ when complete.

6. Now it’s time to mail merge: click on the Mail Merge button at the top of the toolbar to view on screen (or the click the Merge to Printer button if you just want a printout).

Time saving alternative: Once you have created a data source with suitable headings (step 2) the student comments etc are most easily added/edited by opening the data source directly (as a normal Word document, rather than from within the ‘template’). It will appear as a table with your chosen fields (Name, form, grade etc). Simply fill in the table on screen - most rapidly with the help of the  Teachers Report Assistant  (which is free to download and use from:

When complete, simply return to your report template and Select Tools>Mail Merge>Get Data > Open Data Source, and select the data file you have just stored. Then continue from step 5 above.

If you find any mistakes, or know any good tips or tricks, please email me:  

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© copyright Ray Le Couteur       Last update March 2005