Sometimes when you’re coordinating programs with parents and students, you need to send repetitive emails or letters home. One trick to making this process faster (and much easier) is to use a mail merge tool like the one in Microsoft Office products to create repetitive letters, using a template and .CSV, .XLSX, or other spreadsheet.

The process of creating letters of emails using mail merge isn’t difficult, but there are a few considerations that you need to make when planning to use a merge to create letters or emails.

Official Microsoft resources for mail merges:

Basic tips:

  • Mail merge creates one letter per row (line) of your spreadsheet.
  • Double check your data set to make sure it is clean and accurate, and that any filtering or sorting you’ve done hasn’t thrown things off.
  • Use the data preview tool in Word to make sure that the merge is creating letters the way you expect. The final document can be saved as a new document that contains all of your merged letters, which is better than printing directly from the merge tool when you want to double check the data.

Advanced tips:

  • You can definitely add fields to the spreadsheet to include more information, or do things like filter by grade level or homeroom. Adding fields will not change how the mail merge operates, but if you want to include additional fields in the letter, you’ll need to add the fields to the source document.
  • If you modify the row headers (Student ID, First Name, etc.), the data will no longer populate correctly into the source document as provided. Additionally, note that in Word, the spaces in these headers are replaced by underscores—Student_ID, First_Name, etc.
  • If you’re looking to save paper, you can create your own source document to be more abbreviated, have a smaller page size, and print multiple pages per sheet. Some quick Google searching will reveal some tips on how to do this with your version of Office.
  • It is possible to do a similar merge with Google Docs, but it requires some more technical finesse. Here is a tutorial video on performing mail merges in Google Docs, prepared by a member of the Google Apps for Education community. *** Hero has not tested this or any other method of preparing mail merges in Google Docs. Please proceed with caution, test your results before printing, and be mindful of security considerations when managing student data in external tools.

We hope this guide helps save you a little time getting letters out to parents and students! As always, if you’re a Hero user and you have any questions about this process, reach out to Hero Support and we’ll help you get started.