Sunday, November 22, 2015

Creating Notecards using Microsoft Word Mail Merge

This blog post provides step-by-step instructions for creating notecards (possibly for a card sort) using Microsoft Excel and Word. Thanks to Tom Zimmermann of Microsoft Research who taught me this nifty trick :D.

This tutorial assumes you already have your data in a spreadsheet, as discussed in another blog post.

  1. Save your excel spreadsheet -- make sure your data columns are labeled.
  2. Open or create a Word template with the number of notecards you would like on one page. I created my own using the Create Table command in Word; either way, make sure you know what size each notecard is (you'll need it later).
  3. Once you have the template/document open, you will need to put in the various components of your notecard where you'd like them to be. As an example, my template I created based on my spreadsheet columns can be found here.
  4. Next, select the Mailings tab > Start Mail Merge Email Messages. It technically doesn't matter what you select here; I choose Email Messages because it makes life easier :).
  5. Next, select Select Recipients >  Use An Existing List...
    Browse to and select the spreadsheet with your data. If your quotes are in a workbook, make sure you select the correct sheet.
  6. Now you want to map the different "fields" in your document to the columns in your spreadsheet. This is done using the Insert Merge Field menu.
    The list that comes is populated with the columns in your spreadsheet -- insert each field into one notecard (i.e. replace <<participant>> with Participant merge field) then copy and paste all fields into each notecard. Once finished, it will look something like this:

  7. If you click Preview Results you can see what your notecards will look like. If you click it now, each notecard will have the same information on it. This is because you have to tell Mail Merge to go to the next record in the spreadsheet.

    To tell Word you want to go to the next record for each notecard, you need to add a rule; this is done by going to the Rules menu and selecting Next Record. You need the <<Next Record>> field on each notecard; it should look something like this:

    Now when you click Preview Results you should see different data for each notecard.

  8. Now you're ready to Finish & Merge!
    I typically select Edit Individual Documents... so I can make sure everything is copesthetic.
  9. The final step is optional, but recommended: because quotes vary in length, depending on the template you used for your notecards you may want to remove any extra space added for the short quotes due to the long quotes. It's a tedious process but helps save paper :).

Once you have your notecards ready, you can print, cut, then you're ready to get to sortin'! :D


  1. Excel is a software program from Microsoft basic excel for beginners that is a part of Microsoft Office. Excel calculations is compiled for making and altering spreadsheets that are spared with a .xls expansion. It's general uses in corporate cell-based figuring, turn tables, and different diagramming devices. With an Excel spreadsheet, you could make a month to month spending plan, track costs of doing business, or sort and compose a lot of information calculations in spreadsheets of Excels.

  2. THANK YOUUUU! I've been trying to do this for months. I didn't know how to do the "next record" function. Now I can make my flash cards! Thank you.