How to create a mail merge letter (Functional Skills ICT)
This activity is part of a series of resources to help teachers delivering Edexcel Level 2 Functional Skills in ICT. All resources provided here are the strict copyright of What2Learn Ltd and must not be published elsewhere without our written consent.
In this lesson students will develop an understanding of how to create a mail merge letter using a database and a word processing package. For the purposes of this activity the database is a Microsoft Access database and the word processing application is Microsoft Word. It is important that students develop a clear understanding of not only how to do a mail merge but why.
Standards addressed in this activity
- 3.1 manage files, folders and other media storage to enable efficient information retrieval.
- 4.1 use appropriate search techniques to locate and select relevant information.
- 6.1 apply a range of editing, formatting and layout techniques.
- 9.1 organise and integrate information of different types to achieve a purpose, using accepted layouts and conventions as appropriate.
- 9.2 work accurately and check accuracy, using software facilities where appropriate.
- 10.1 evaluate the selection, use and effectiveness of ICT tools and facilities used to present information.
Click here to download the worksheet ‘Mail merge instructions’
Click here to download the database ‘sponsors.mdb’
Teachers – reduce your marking and develop your student’s knowledge and motivation with W2L games. There is a relevant activity with the title ‘Mail merge’. The best way to play these is for students to register for W2L accounts, log in and enter share code ‘832263’ to unlock the Functional Skills ICT topic. By logging in to play the activities scores will be recorded and attainment rewarded.
Suggested method of delivery:
In the introduction to the lesson it is important that the students develop a very strong understanding of the benefits that mail merges can bring. This should be used as an opportunity to reinforce student knowledge of database structure and use.
Students will need to copy the sponsors.mdb database to their own work areas. They should also be provided with an electronic copy of the worksheet as, at 5 pages, this would be expensive to produce paper-based copies for a whole class.
The technical instructions for this task are all included within the worksheet. Students must follow the step-by-step guidance to ensure they manage to carry out the mail merge successfully. Although we have tried to get away from this kind of activity for the W2L Functional Skills worksheets, carrying out a mail merge is a complex task and more support is needed for most students.
Once the first student has reached Step 10 the whole class should be stopped and Step 10 discussed – this is where the students must come up with the main bulk of the letter. Discussing this and giving examples of things that could be included will ensure all students are able to produce an appropriate letter. This would also be a good opportunity to discuss some of the layout options that could be applied, e.g. line spacing, space between paragraphs, alignment, etc.
As a plenary students should play the activity about mail merge within the W2L Functional Skills ICT topic (share code 832263).