Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #182 1/2/2013

Question: How do I print a number of certificates from a list?


You can use a feature in Microsoft Office called mail merge to do this easily. Other word processing programs have similar features.

You will have a list of the names which can be in a text type file or in a database or spreadsheet file. You will create a file in Word that is set up like the certificate that you want, but we will put variables in it for the information you want to be individualized on each certificate that will come from the list file (you can several fields for each entry, for instance name, city and state). I will just give in this example using a name.

Start by making the list or knowing where you already have stored on your PC. Then make your document like you want it to appear, but leave a blank space where the name goes. The go to the Mailings ribbon (I am using Word 2010) and choose Select Recipients and choose Use Existing List (or you can create a list at this point) and find the file and open it.

Now you will go to the spot in the document you want the personalized information to appear (name for instance) and click the Insert Merge Field and you will see a link appear there that looks like <>.

Now click on Finish and Merge button on the ribbon and you will get to choose Edit Individualized Documents or Print Documents. If you are certain you have it all done right you can do Print Documents which will take you to the print box, however my preference is Edit Individualized Documents and it will merge the two files and create a file with as many pages as you will have copies of the certificates. Each will have each personís name and you can edit them if need be before then using the Print option from the file menu and printing them.

You have now produces a large number of individualized certificates. This will work whether you have a list of five names or 1000 names. The only difference is how long it takes you to create the list. If they are in a database you can use the Access file directly. If it is in other databases such as Oracle you can create a CSV (comma separated value) file from it and use it to merge from. You can work from Excel spreadsheet files directly also

Have fun doing individual certificates and personalized from letters using this approach. It is called Mail Merge as they envisioned it used for personalized form letters.