Chapter 41. Data Sources


  • Data sources you can connect to Word

  • Data access and portability considerations

  • Data formats

  • Using data from Word, Outlook, Excel, Access, and the web

This section of the Word 2007 Bible deals with specialized output formats, such as envelopes, labels, form letters, mass e-mail, catalogs, and directories. It might seem odd to start with the data source, but that's the most important consideration, and often receives the least attention. Once you've identified and correctly dealt with your data source, the rest of what you do is made much easier.

In this chapter, we're going to focus on the Select Recipients aspect of a feature broadly yet shortsightedly known as Mail Merge. Why shortsightedly? If you glance back at the list of "specialized output formats," you'll see that it includes catalogs. While recipients are indeed the focus of mail merge in general, the set of tools is ideally suited to creating documents that use a variety of data sources, not just data containing names and addresses. Once you fully understand the process, extending it to include and use other data sources, such as inventory or even research data, isn't a long stretch. Rather than contribute to the misidentification of such documents as mail merge documents, it is more appropriate to refer to such creations as data documents.

Data Considerations

When thinking about mail merge, our first instinct often is "Let's get this over with as quickly as possible." Most users find, ...

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