Here is a teacher hack I’ve been using for years: mail merge to insert student information into my school forms...like parent teacher conference forms! I love how easy it is and that I don’t need to copy and paste the same form over and over, nor do I have to fish through the document to find where I need to type to add each student’s information. After setting it up, it’s easy to reuse and remember what you need year after year! Here’s how to do it.
**Note---I’m using Microsoft Word and Excel for Mac version 2016. This tutorial should still work for most other versions as well, though the layout may differ slightly.
So, here’s my Microsoft Excel document. I’ve already input some information for my conference forms.
Our conferences are for a few hours after school over two different days, and I just code my day as the date (“15” for October 15th) and the number order of the student I would see parents for that night (“15.1”).
I then put in first name, last name and across the top are labels (field name) for more information I personally need in my form. So I need information on sight words, phonics, oral reading fluency, math facts timed tests, homework completions, work habits, attitude and relationships. After I input all my information for each student, I then want to add this into a form I’ve already set up in Microsoft Word. That’s what I’ll do next.
After we input all our info inside of the spreadsheet that we need to include in the document, we need to open the form document. For me, this is my fall parent teacher conference form.
I then go to “mailings” and on to “select recipients” to find the Excel spreadsheet with all my info I need. Choose “use an existing list” to find and open your spreadsheet. Press OK to open up Sheet 1. You won’t actually see anything open up, but it’s ready for you to use now. What you do next will help you see your items.
Now, go to “insert merge field” and you will see all your field names (which I called them labels earlier). Next, you need to put your cursor in the form where you want a field name to go. Go back up to “insert merge field” and select what you want to go into that spot where your cursor is now. I start with the first name and the last name, and I’ll need to remember to put a space between them. I can insert field information into a table I’ve created or regular lined text.
Whenever I want to see the actual info for each student, I go up to “preview results”. When I did that, I noticed I needed a percent sign after an item. I just put my cursor there and typed it in. It will now show up on every student’s page. Keep this in mind if you type anything into the Word document. One more thing to know about going to “preview results” is that you can view all your student pages. At the start, only the first one will be in view. You will see it as number 1, though you can click forward to see all the other student forms filled in as well!
Now just check it all out to make sure it looks complete and then click "finish and merge" to save, print or whatever you like! You will still be able to edit any of the student's forms if so needed. Any form you create in Microsoft Word will accept merged information you input from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The possibilities are practically endless!
Do you use mail merge for class documents? Will you now? Let us know in the comments below! It's great to see and share ideas with others.