Which Is Not Valid Type of Data Source in Mail Merge?


Larry Thompson

Which Is Not Valid Type of Data Source in Mail Merge?

Mail merge is a powerful feature in many word processing applications that allows users to create customized documents by merging data from a data source into a template. However, not all types of data sources can be used with mail merge. In this article, we will explore the different types of data sources that can be used in mail merge and identify the one type that is not valid.

Data Sources for Mail Merge

In mail merge, the data source serves as the collection of information that will be merged into the document. The following are commonly used types of data sources:

  • Excel Spreadsheet: Excel spreadsheets are widely used as data sources for mail merge. They allow for easy organization and manipulation of data, making it convenient to merge specific rows or columns into documents.
  • Microsoft Access Database: Access databases provide a structured way to store and manage large amounts of data.

    They can be easily connected to mail merge, enabling users to extract specific records or fields for merging.

  • Outlook Contacts: Outlook contacts can also serve as a data source for mail merge. This is especially useful when creating personalized emails or mailing labels using contact information.
  • Text Files: Plain text files, such as CSV (Comma Separated Values) files, can be used as simple data sources for mail merge. These files contain tabular data that can be easily imported and merged into documents.

The Invalid Type:

Merge Fields in Document

The one type of data source that is not valid in mail merge is actually a part of the merge document itself. Merge fields, also known as placeholders, are special codes that indicate where specific data from the data source should be inserted. However, merge fields alone cannot serve as the data source for mail merge.

For mail merge to work, a separate data source must be specified and connected to the merge document. This ensures that the desired information can be pulled from the data source and merged into the document accurately.

Using merge fields without a proper data source will result in an incomplete or unsuccessful mail merge process.


When using mail merge, it is important to select a valid type of data source for successful merging of information into documents. While options such as Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, Outlook contacts, and text files are commonly used as valid data sources, merge fields within the document itself cannot function as a standalone data source.

To maximize the potential of mail merge and create personalized documents efficiently, make sure to connect an appropriate external data source to your template and utilize it effectively.

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