Creating Mail Merges

Tomorrow I am conducting SPOCK meetings at work for SharePoint Online Coordinators in the Know, or site owners in our organization. They will be populating their Intranet pages for the Division of Student Affairs. In order to that, there are quite a few portions of their sites that need to be updated, including

  • department head
  • lead site administrator
  • message from dept leadership
  • about the department
  • a map with their locations (the location finder app)
  • an organizational chart (linking visio files)
  • links to their discussions page on another site
  • link to their private team site

For the committees, the list wasn’t as long but they would be updating

  • the committee’s charge
  • the member roster
  • the co-chairs for the group
  • basic meeting information – when and where they meet, etc.
  • links to their discussion page on another site
  • link to their private team site

I also included instructions for the committees to add people to their member rosters since many of them hadn’t been added yet.

o365-excelAll of this information was gathered and captured in an Excel spreadsheet. I used a spreadsheet because I knew that I would need to mail merge that information later.

A lot of people think mail merges is only for letters or address labels, but it can be used for any kind of information sheet.

I had one Excel file with three or four sheets with different headers of information, and today I used the mail merge feature in Word to take the information from the various spreadsheets to make the different kinds of info sheets.

o365-wordThe combined file was great for print-outs, because I did want at least that info available in a printed form so people would know what they needed to copy. At the same time, I also wanted that info available to them in an electronic format, and I needed to split my letters up into separate files.

I know enough about the Internet that there are lots of smart people on there who have already figured out how to do this. Microsoft itself had posted one for splitting pages out. WordTips.net gave me one for splitting out sections, which is what I actually needed, since some of the info sheets actually spanned 2 pages.

This macro, which I modified to make it save docx files rather than doc files, does a fine job of splitting the data into separate files. The only place where it broke down was where I had turned some member lists into columns prior so I could print the info on one page. Word apparently takes columns as sections also, and it split the second column’s data into a separate file. Easy enough to recombine, but just something to be aware of before you use it. Using the split macro before changing the format of the page probably would have worked beautifully. Another thing to note is that the cursor needs to be at the beginning of the file in order for this macro to work correctly.

Once I split the files, they all had the name test followed by a number test1.docx, test2.docx etc. so I did have to rename them all, but all that is still less time than manually copying and pasting into separate files. Once I renamed the files I uploaded them to SharePoint, ready for tomorrow’s workshop.

I believe I now have all of my materials together. I have info sheets for each department and committee, in printed form, and in electronic form. I have instructions in two PowerPoint files – one for departments, one for committees. I have signup sheets, feedback forms, and resource pages with helpful tips and tricks, and also instructions to gather the info they need to complete the task.

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