Mail Merge Letters with the Greatest of Ease!

Need to mass-mail advertisements to clients before this evening? Have dozens of holiday cards to send to family and friends? No worries, the Mail Merge process is useful and convenient for everyone. Look below to learn how.
Generally, the Mail Merge process involves two choices: first, you choose the type of document that you want to merge information into, then, you choose the main document that you want to use. The main document is the document with which you start. The objective of this article is to merge information from an Excel document to that of a Microsoft Word document, specifically with the purpose of allowing your computer to transfer name and address information to create individualized letters for each Excel listing.
To start the mail-merge process:

  1. Create or open an Excel spreadsheet with name and address information. In this article, I attempt to send letters to each of the clients within the Client Receipt List Excel spreadsheet.

  2. After making all corrections or editions to the spreadsheet, close the Excel document.
  3. Open Microsoft Word, and a blank document will open; do not close this blank document.
  4. Type the letter in the blank document.
  5. Next, click the Tools menu, then point to Letters and Mailings and then click Mail Merge.
      If using Word 2002, click the Tools menu, point to Letters and Mailings and then click Mail Merge Wizard.

  6. The Mail Merge pane will open to the right, with which you can navigate through the mail-merge process.
  7. Select the Letters option on the Mail Merge pane, then click Next: Starting document.
  8. If you have a previously typed letter, choose the Use the current document option. Otherwise, choose another option. Then, click Next: Select recipients.
  9. If you have an existing recipient list, select the Use an existing list option, otherwise, choose another source for recipient information.
  10. Next, click the Browse… link, to choose an existing recipient list in an Excel spreadsheet.

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  11. Choose the Excel sheet[s] that contain the correct recipient contacts.

  12. Use the check boxes to choose the desired recipients and information to add to the letter. Next, click Next: Write your letter.

  13. Click Address block… to choose the format of the recipient information that will appear in each letter.

  14. After choosing the desired format, click the Match Field… button and fill the fields that apply. Then, click OK in the Math Fields box and OK in the Insert Address Block box.

  15. Next, choose the Greeting Line… option and choose the greeting format for your recipients. Then, click Next: Preview your letters after adding any other needed options.

      As each option is added, they appear as they do in the body of your letter like they appear in the image below.

  16. After clicking the next button, you can now preview your letter, by scanning through each of the recipients or exclude recipients from the letter set. Once finished, click Next: Complete the merge.
  17. After choosing this option, choose either to Print… the individualized letters or the Edit individual letters… By choosing the latter, each individual letter will appear within the mail-merge document.

Perfected for the small business or just for fun, send professionally address labels with Microsoft’s easy-to-use mail-merge wizard today.

Ham is Back on the Menu—Bon Appetit!

In last month’s newsletter, we explored the benefits of SpamBayes for Microsoft Outlook users. This program searches through your Outlook folders to eliminate spam and while keeping good emails, known as ham. Now, let’s learn how to train SpamBayes to search and destroy spam while leaving the ham of your email account untouched.

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook.
    Locate the Spambayes item menu, and click the SpamBayes drop-down box, then, select SpamBayes Manager.

  2. Once the Manager window appears, select the Training tab.

  3. Next, select the Browse button for the Folders with known good messages, and select the folders that generally contain good messages. Then, do the same for the Folders with spam or other junk messages. You must select at least one folder for each.

  4. Then click the Start Training button. The Training session will run, scoring the messages within the selected folders. Afterward, the program will record a scoring of the messages and find the spam and ham–a.k.a. the good, the bad, and the ugly–of your mailbox.

Two other options are located below within the Incremental Training field. These configuration tactics are long-term, allowing SpamBayes to learn the differences between spam and ham as you move emails between folders.

Microsoft Office Word 2007 at a Glance

The purpose of Office Word has not changed in its 2007 version, it is still a powerful authoring program that enables a PC user to create and share documents by utilizing comprehensive writing and editing tools. Although its function is static, the application has received a drastic overhaul.
This article will provide an overview of Office Word 2007, emphasizing new and improved features. More in-depth and topic-specific articles will follow in later newsletter issues to deliver confidence and savvy with this new word processing system.
Upon launching Microsoft Office, many changes are immediately apparent. Now, let’s get to work, first, by getting our bearings.
Most startling is the new Ribbon system. The ribbon is Microsoft’s new format replacing the standard “File, Edit, View…” menu system that has graced the top of Microsoft Office products in the past. The Ribbon replaces the current system of layered menus, toolbars and task panes with a simpler system of interfaces optimized for efficiency. This new effect adds an overall soft, “soothing” feel to the default appearance that has been missing from Microsoft’s Office products.

Where has the File menu gone?
After adjusting to the new ribbon concept, some critical menu items might appear missing, like the Open, Close, Save and Print features, previously located within the File menu.
Microsoft has radically changed the concept of the File menu item by ridding Office Word of this feature. Formally a cascading menu, these menu items are now accessed by clicking the circular Microsoft Office button. This updated “Start” button is conveniently located in the top left of your Word application window. Let’s check it out…

    • Click the Office 2007 icon.

    • Now, take some time to peruse the menu. Notice some familiar commands? This is your station for opening, saving and printing documents. Other commands like Import have been moved elsewhere.
    • The Save As item contains a cascading option list located in the right pane. These include:
      • Word Document: offers the choice to save an Office 2007-compatible document.
      • Word Template: an extremely convenient option which allows a user to save their document as a template for later use if existing templates are found wanting.
      • Word 97-2003 Document: provides the option of saving your document so that it is fully compatible with other Office versions, including Office 97-2003. With this convenient feature, emailing or transferring documents via removable disk is made convenient and hassle-free by delivering well-suited documents.
      • Find add-ins for other file formats: such file formats include PDF and XPS for high-quality graphics and performance.
      • Other Formats: provides many options for saving documents under different format types from an extensive list located within the Save as Type drop-down box.

Printing Highlights
Word’s new categorization of the Print option is a breath of fresh air. Microsoft requires its users to choose to either print with a default printer or to choose a new printer. This printing concept is very convenient especially for home-office laptops where users are constantly switching between different printers. The new categorization will cut down on print jobs sent to the wrong printer.
Additionally, the Print Preview item has been stashed within this Print menu for easy access.

A New Take on Preparation
The Prepare item is a Microsoft innovation with a collective functionality which allows the user to prepare their work for the publication, distribution or storage of finished documents. Options include: adding a digital signature to insure the document’s integrity, checking for the document’s compatibility with other Word versions and adding meta data. Now, let’s take a closer look at each available option within the Prepare menu.

    • Properties
      This option enables you to add meta data to descibe a document. The fields allow you to attach publication information with Author, Title and Subject; highlight subjects with Keywords, classify documents with Catagory, define a document’s condition with Status; and use Comments for creating abstracts. Not enough options? If you click on the down arrow beside Document Properties you can launch the Advanced Properties box which allows for more detailed information such as for whom the document is created and who first typed the document.

    • Inspection
      The Inspect Document function checks for trackable information hidden within your document. This is an extremely important tool if your document has hidden text such as meta data used internally to classify a document. When clicking the Inspect Document function, a display box appears which allows the user to select the desired type of document inspection. Checking small documents of 100-200 words with all five options is fast and easy. However, for longer documents, inspections for comments, annotations, versions and revisions are recommended for a faster examination.

    • Encrypt Document
      Use this function to protect a document with a pasword. Simply type the password, and then re-type it to make a document encrypted.

    • Restrict Permission
      Selest to grant specific rights to viewers of the document, such as allowing a reader to view a document without the permission to print.

    • Add a Digital Signature
      With this option you can sign your document. Digital signatures are gaining ground and many companies empower these with the same authority as their hand-written counterparts.
      To create a digital signature, either create your own digital signature or purchase one from a third party. The latter hold greater credibility because they are independently verified by a third party. These digital signatures are invisible and do not visually appear within a document.

    • Mark as Final
      This option transforms a document to a read-only file.

    • Run Compatibility Checker
      Use this tool to check for your document’s compatibility with other Office versions, most convenient if you forget whether or not you saved the document as a compatible file.

Sending Documents to Others
Choose to email or fax documents to family, friends or a client.
Document Distribution
These options include: Blog for built in blog publishing, Document Management Server and Create Document Space to place documents in a public location.

Quick Access Toolbar
Located to the upper right of the circular Microsoft Office button. Three options come standardly installed on this toolbar, but you can otpimize this toolbar bar clicking the drop-down button to the right of the menu bar.

The Ribbon System
Microsoft’s ribbon system is catagorized by a tabbing feature that sprawls along the top of Word 2007’s menu bar. The menu options include:

    • Home: Clip board, Font, Paragrpah, Styles and Editing
    • Insert: Pages, Tables, Illustrations, Links, Header & Footer, Text and Symbols
    • Page Layout: Themes, Page Setup, Page Background, Paragraph and Arrange
    • Refernces: Table and Contents, Footnotes, Citations & Bibliography, Captions, Index and Table of Contents
    • Mailings: Create, Start Mail Merge, Write & insert Fields, Review Results and Finish
    • Review: Proofing, Comments, Tracking, Changes, Compare and Protect
    • View: Doncument Views, Show/Hide, Zoom, Window and Macros

There are a great number of items within these tabs, and that will be individually addressed in upcoming newsletters.

Status Bar
Word 2007’s status bar has received a facelift as well. The features found on the status bar are:

    • Page count dispalying the current page that is being viewed along out of the total number of pages.
    • Word count conveniently located for the first time at the bottom left of your screen.
    • Spell Check in the form of a book icon which warns of misspelled words. To fix any spelling mistakes, simply click the book icon and an option will appear with spelling suggestions.
    • View option for a document which include: Print Layout, Full Screen Reading, Web Layout, Outline and Draft.
    • Zoom slidebar to zoom in and out on your document.

      Wish that there were more features conveniently located on this status bar? No worries, simple right click on the space following the Spellcheck icon to access the Customize Status Bar, and a menu will appear with a list of other shortcuts for your status bar.

Does Your Document Measure Up?
When you first open Office Word 2007, you might notice that the ruler which ran across the top of documents is missing. It’s not missing, rather, Microsoft has merely relocated it. To view the horizontal ruler across the top of your Word document and the vertical ruler along the left edge of your document, you must be in Print Layout view. Otherwise, click the View Ruler button located at the top of the scroll bar to make the horizontal ruler appear at the top.
I hope you have enjoyed our first look at the new Office Word 2007. There is a lot more to explore, so make sure that you catch our next newsletter.

Word 2007: Ribbons Part I

As discussed in last week’s article, Word 2007 has abandoned traditional menus for a ribbon-based organization. These Ribbons are filled with commands and options. They have also replaced the toolbars of previous Word versions.
How do Ribbons work? Each Ribbon is divided into different sections; similar commands are then grouped within these partitions. Don’t see what you’re looking for? More options can be accessed by clicking on the arrow in the lower-right corner of a section, located beside the section title.
Now, let’s take a look at each panel on located on the Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review and View tabs.
To start, the Home panel contains many text formatting options that are most familiar to an Office user. These features are divided up into several sections for efficient retreival of each. Such divisions are given specific designations such as:

Clipboard
The Office 2007 Clipboard allows you to copy multiple text and graphical items from Office documents or other programs and paste them into another Office document. The function is unchanged from other Office predecessors plus a couple of extras that provide the Clipboard with more visibility and features.

Located within this section are several options such as:

    • Cut: Highlight or select the material that you desire to cut. Next, click the scissor icon to cut the material to the Clipboard.
    • Copy: To copy material, select the material and click the copy icon to place a copy on the Clipboard.
    • Paste: The paste option has been changed up a bit. To simply paste text, click the Paste icon. For more options, click the down arrow underneath the Paste icon, you can either choose Paste Special to paste pictures, html, RTF and others or select Paste as Hyperlink to add a link to your favorite website.

    • Format Painter: Click the whisk-broom icon to copy text formating from one place to another. To apply the same formatting to several pieces of text, simply double click the icon and then select the desired text.

If you would like to see all material that has been copied, pasted or cut, click the button located within the lower right of the Clipboard partition

. This will show the Office Clipboard Task Pane.

Once the task pane opens, you have several options: Paste All items located on the Clipboard, Clear All objects or set new Options. This Options menu allow you to control where and when the Clipboard partition and Task Pane appears.

Font
Reminiscent of the Formatting Toolbar found in earlier Microsoft Office versions, You can surmise from the symbols on the various buttons the functions that each performs. However, there are a couple of surprises. The Font partition offer the following formatting options:

    • Font Face
    • Font Size
    • Grow and Shrink Font:These easy-to-use up and down arrows streamline your efforts to change the font size. The font sizing moves up or down by incriments of two and is a faster alternative to the font-size drop-down box that is accessed by the size icon.
    • Clear Formatting:Click this formatting options to clear all formatting from text. To do so, simply select the desired text and click the Clear Formatting icon.
    • Bold
    • Italic
    • Underline:For standard underlining, simply click the Underline icon. Otherwise, click the downward arrow to choose from a variety of underlining styles using the scroll tool. If you don’t see a style that strikes your fancy, select More Underlines… or click Underline Color to give your document an extra special touch.

    • Strikethrough: draws a line through selected text
    • Subscript and Superscript
    • Change Case: Change selected text to all uppercase or lowercase. Click the attached downarrow for other case options.

    • Text Highlight Color: Click the attached downarrow to change highlight color.
    • Font Color: Click the attached downarrow to change the font color.

For any other options, click the lower right button of the Font panel

.

Paragraph
For more formatting options specific to paragraph customization, the Paragraph partition offers several options:

    • Bullets, Numbering and Multilevel List: Select to create a bulleted and/or numbered list. Otherwise, click the individual downarrows to access the libraries. Below these catagories you are allowed to Change List Level or Define New Bullet. If you select the former, a new pane opens which allows you to designate bullets with a Symbol…, Picture… or Font…. You can also configer the Alighnment: to be Left, Centered or Right.
    • Decrease and Increase Indent
    • Sort: Click to aplphabetize or order numbered texts
    • Show/Hide Paragraphs
    • Align Text Left, Center, Right and Justify
    • Line Spacing: Use to change the spacing between lines of texts. Click the attached downarrow and select the desired spacing measurement. Otherwise, select Line Spacing Options… for more detailed changes. Two other helpful options have been placed within this cascading menu such as Add Space Before Paragraph and Remove Space After Paragraph.

    • Shading: Color the background behind texts. Select the downarrow to reveal color choices.

    • Border: Click the adjoining downarrow to reveal a plethora of format options for borders and tables. The first twelve formatting options are self explanitory. Below, several important options are listed, including:

        • Horizontal Line: This option will place a horizontal line which spans the entire width of your document.
        • Draw Table: Upon selecting the Draw Table option, the mouse pointer is transformed into a pencil with which you can draw a box by clicking and dragging. Once set, the Home ribbon will change to the Design ribbon. This ribbon contains Table Tools which aide in formatting and overall design of our table. This particular feature within Word 2007 operates very differently from past versions. Therefore, an in-depth look at Draw Table will be provied in a later news article edition.
        • View Gridlines: Allows you to view the gridlines of a table.
        • Borders and Shadings…: similar to its prediscessors, you won’t encouter too many surprises with this feature if you are a seasoned Windows XP user. More will be written on this feature at a later time.

    Need more formatting options? Simply click the lower right button

    within the Paragraph section.

    Styles
    By using this feature, you can save time that you might otherwise spend formatting your document and give your documents a consistent look. When you change the formatting in the style, all paragraphs that are formatted with this style will automatically change. This particular function is very similar to those within earlier versions of Office but are placed differently as large square icons. Each font style is tailored to a particular need, and are accessible through the up and down arrows along side the style-choices window. Microsoft has done something particularly convenient. Rather than being forced to choose a formating without surety, simply select the text and wave the mouse pointer over a particular style for a preview. Wave your mouse pointer back over the Normal style to return to standard formating. If you are certain of a particular style, simply select the text and click on the correct style.

    For more style options, click the Change Styles button. This cascading window provides several options:

      • Style Set: Provides additional formatting options with Reset and Save options located below.

      • Color: Offers you several color-themed groupings.

      • Fonts: Suggests stylish font pairings to make mixing-and-matching easier.

      • Set as Default: Allows the user to select a particular style as the standard default setting for Word documents.

    More style options are located in the Style Window Pane. To access, simply click the arrow located in the bottom right of the Style partition. This pane offers several other style options. Simply wave your mouse pointer over each to view a detailed description of each.

      • If you don’t see any options that meet your expectation, then simply click the New Style icon

        . An easy-to-follow window allows you to create, name and save your new style.

      • Click the Style Inspector icon

        to find out whether text was manually formatted instead of formatted by using styles.

      • To manage and organize your styles, click the Options…

        .

    Editing
    This partitionoffers several features that aid your search process such as the Find and Replace buttons. These features are unchanged from those found in earlier Office Word versions.
    >

    The Select feature allows the user to highlight pieces of text. These options speed your selection process by offering you the following options:

      • Select All
      • Select Objects
      • Select Text with Similar Formatting

        Now that we have explored the features found on the Home ribbon, we’ll take a look at the Insert ribbon next time—until then.

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