How do I address a letter to both spouses when running mail merges?

The biggest issue users typically encounter is how to make sure the word "and" is not in the salutation if it is an individual they are sending to rather than a couple. We'll take a look at how to resolve this here.

First, you'll want to open up a blank Microsoft Word document.  You can see this post for information on setting up mail merge templates in general.  Here, we'll concentrate on the salutation field alone.

After you've put in your Date field (if desired) and your Address block, your template might look like the below:


You can then return several lines, type in "Dear" followed by a space and then open up your Field menu to insert your merge fields:


In our example here, you can see that you select Mail Merge in the Categories pulldown menu and MergeField in the Field Names menu.  You'll then type in "Firstname" in the Field Name box and leave the Format set to (none).  Then, click OK.

Your template will then look like the below:


Then, place your cursor immediately after the closing bracket on the Firstname merge field and open up your Field menu again:


This will be set up similarly to your Firstname field but  in the Field name box type "SpouseFirstname."  This is where the trick comes in to make sure that the word "and" only shows up if there is actually a spouse.  Let's take a closer look at the Field options section on the right side of this dialog:


You'll want to check off the box that says "Text to be inserted before:" and then in the box to its right, you'll type in a space followed by the word "and" followed by another space.  It's very important both spaces are included so that they show up in your merged documents when there is a spouse.  Then click OK.

Your template will then look like the below:


Your final step in terms of setting up the salutation line will be to type in a comma or a colon (your preference) immediately after the closing bracket for the SpouseFirstname field:


Now what you've set up is a salutation line that will include the Family Head's first name and their spouse's first name if they have a spouse.  If they do not, it will only be addressed to the Family Head.

You can then type up the rest of your letter and upload the template for use as outlined in the post referenced at the beginning of this post. 

Please note that you will not be able to insert the field "spousefirstname" with the "and" preceeding it when using Word for Mac. Attached to this post is a basic template to help you get started with these fields pre-inserted. 

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