Mail Merge with SharePoint Lists

I’ve always thought it strange that with the many integration points between Office and SharePoint that "SharePoint List" isn’t one of the options in the Word mail merge dialogs. I was reminded of this the other day when I helped some friends print envelopes for their wedding invitations.

Like so many things, it’s easy if you know how!

There are two ways that you can use a SharePoint list as the source in a Word mail merge and both techniques work in Office 2007 as well as Office 2003.

The first is to link the list as a table using Microsoft Access. The most important difference between 2003 and 2007 is the configuration of the data source drivers. Here is how you do it if you are using Office 2007.

  1. In Access 2007, click the External Data tab on the ribbon.
  2. Under Import, click the SharePoint List icon.
  3. When the Get External Data – SharePoint Site wizard displays, enter the URL to the site that has the list and click Next.
  4. Select the list that has the data you want and click OK. The list will show up in the All Tables section of the Navigation Pane.
  5. In Word 2007, click Mailings on the ribbon bar.
  6. Click Select Recipients | Use Existing List.
  7. When the Select Data Source dialog displays, click the New Source button.
  8. The Data Connection Wizard will open. Select Other/Advanced and click Next.
  9. Select the Microsoft Office 12.0 Access Database Engine OLE DB Provider and click Next. If you used Access 2003, use the Jet provider instead.
  10. Enter path to your Access database and click OK.
  11. Select your list and click Next.
  12. Click Finish and you are ready to insert your merge fields!

But, what if you don’t have Access?

Well, if you have Outlook and the data is in a SharePoint Contact list you can still satisfy the urge to merge!

  1. In the SharePoint list, use the Actions menu to Connect to Outlook.
  2. You’ll see some confirmation dialogs and once you assure your computer that you really meant to click Connect to Outlook, the contacts will appear in Outlook.
  3. In Word 2007, click Mailings on the ribbon bar.
  4. Click Select Recipients |Select from Outlook Contacts.
  5. Pick the contacts that came from SharePoint.
  6. Merge away!

Using Outlook is easier, but it only works if the list is a contact list.

Author: Doug Ware