Using Microsoft Word’s Mail Merge With Business Central

In one of Business Central’s most recent updates, Microsoft have improved mail merge functionality. You can use mail merge to create templates for things like directories, mailing lists and labels. It works by taking the data from another source, in our case Business Central, and matching it to the field used in the template. I’ve linked Microsoft’s documentation on mail merge functionality which should help you get a better understanding on the topic.

The post today is certainly more pictorial. Given the tutorial style, I think it’s a lot more helpful to have as many images as possible to help users relate when they are performing the activity. Let us know what you think about it using the link at the bottom of the page!

In this blog, we are going to demonstrate this functionality using contact labels.

Downloading the Word template

To go about starting to make your Word Template, go to the Word Templates page. Click ‘New’ and ‘Create a template’. Firstly, click to highlight the entity you wish to create the template for, then click ‘Next’. You should get a screen like this:

To start making a Word template, go to the Word Templates page and create a new record.

Here, simply click ‘Next’ again. On the following screen, click to ‘Download an empty template’.

A downloaded ZIP file should appear. The contents of this file have to be extracted before they can be utilised.

In this instance, I just stuck with the default extraction location given.

Inside the ZIP file, there are two documents. One is an Excel document, the other a Word document. The one we want to double-click into is the Word file called ‘Contact_Template.docx’.

Click ‘yes’ to the SQL command warning message. Once you’ve done this and clicked ‘yes’ for enable editing, there may be a pop-up on the right hand side of the screen wanting you to fill in your Business Central login details. If there’s not, you have likely linked the account previously. Before opening the document, you may have to close down any existing Word documents you have open too. Now we can begin creating our label layouts.

Label layout

Now we’re in Word and ready to start, click the ‘Mailings’ tab and then the ‘Labels’ on the left-hand side. You should see a ‘Envelopes and Labels’ screen. This is where we can begin to map out the sizing for the labels and the spacing between them on the page. At this stage, we haven’t stated which fields will be on the labels but that will come later.

Click to have the Print option set to ‘Single label’. This is assuming you want one of each label and not a page of the same one. If you want multiple of the same label, click the other option. Next, click ‘options’.

In here, you can click to create a new label. The record for Avery is one we made previously. On your new label record, click into ‘details’. Here you have the fields that determine how many labels fit on a page, where they sit and how big they are. Below you can see I’ve highlighted a few of those fields.

Note, if your figures don’t match the number of labels you have said should be on a screen (‘Number across’ and ‘Number down’) you will get a warning message. See below:

Incorporating Business Central fields

Now we have established that, we next need to state which Business Central Contact fields we want to use on our labels. To do this, staying on the Mailings tab on Word, click the dropdown on ‘Insert Merge Field’. See below:

After clicking one field, make sure to click the ‘enter’ key. This means when you select the next field for the label, it will be on the line below, following a normal label convention.

Once you’re satisfied with your label design, save the document and close Word. Returning to Business Central, you should still have a ‘Create a Word Template’ page with a link to ‘Download a blank template’. Click ‘Next’. The next page will have a link to ‘Upload the template’. Upload the Word file.

Following this, give an appropriate Code to the template and on the next page, click ‘Finish’.

The final product

We now want to see what we have created. To do so, remaining on the Word Templates page, click the ‘Process’ button, followed by ‘Apply’ whilst making sure the relevant record is highlighted.

Finally, click ‘Next’ accept the proposed format and then ‘Finish’. You should then have a downloaded Word file appear.

This is an example we created using the standard Business Central contacts.

Before you leave…

Mail merge functionality can be a very useful for extracting Business Central data and using it for labels. Hopefully that’s helpful for any of you trying to print out labels from Business Central records. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us.