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Article ID: KB1389
Keyword Name: MS Word, Microsoft, Mailing, Mail-Merge, Merge, Print, Template, Thank You, Label, Envelope, Letter
Created: December 30, 2021
Viewed: 3526

How to Perform Mail-Merge with Trail Blazer and Microsoft Word

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Author: Kristenson, Joel

Last Updated: 2021-21-30


This article walks through the steps to perform mail-merge (letter writing) with Trail Blazer and Microsoft Word.

You can utilize this integration for letters, envelopes, labels, etc.  There are many benefits to this, such as the ability to create letter templates with multiple columns, text wrapped around images, and much more.  Another benefit would be the ability to print to whatever type of label paper you’re using.

This integration allows you to merge-in any data point that you are tracking in your database e.g. name, address, donation date, donation amount, ask amount, nickname, household name, etc.

Prefer video?  Click here for a video tutorial.

Tip: Creating custom “mailing formats” will help streamline this process.


Navigate to the list that you want to run a mail-merge print from.  In this example I used the Thank You Letter – Contributions list.

Run a targeted search query for the contacts that you want to print for.  In this example I searched for donors that needed a thank you letter.

Next, and very important, you will need to format (add / remove columns) (learn how to format) into the grid that you want to use a merge fields in your printing.  Some common examples for this would be:

  • Title
  • First name / last name
  • Address (street, street 2, city, state and zip code)
  • Contribution date
  • Contribution amount
  • Contribution fund name
  • Contribution event name
  • Household salutation name
  • Household envelope name

My example is below.

You can then save this format for future use.

Double-check that you have all of the columns added to your format that you will need for merging into your letter.

Then select File > Write Letter Using Microsoft Word…

The first time you run a mail-merge through MS Word, check the box for:

  • Create merge data file (using document name, but with a .csv extension)
  • Open Microsoft Word Document
    • Open new document

Choose the file directory for saving the .CSV export and the new Microsoft Word doc, give the files a name, and click [Save]In my example I used my Documents folder, and called the files “Trail Blazer Thank You Letter Template”.

You’ll receive a popup message with instructions for how to open the document.  Click [OK] to proceed.

This will open your new blank word document.

Note: When doing this in the future, you can select to open an existing document that you’ve already designed.

Navigate to the Mailings tab > Start Mail Merge.

Select the Letters option from the drop-down.

You can now proceed with designing your template by adding images, column dividers, text, custom font and styling, etc.

When you are ready to insert a merge field, click the Select Recipients drop-down under the Mailings tab and select Use Existing List.

Locate the exported .CSV file that was created in previous steps (it will have the same name as your word document), select it, and click [Open].

Now you can click on the Insert Merge Field drop-down under the Mailings tab, and access the data fields that were exported in the .CSV file.  In my example, I insert the FirstName field.

After a merge field is inserted it will add << >> symbols around the test.  Here’s my example.

Repeat these steps until all of your desired merge fields have been added to your Word document.  Once you’re finished, save the document for future use.  My finished example is below.  I’ve highlighted the merge fields being used.

To test the print preview, click the [Preview Results] button under the Mailings tab.

Below is my print preview example.  You can page left and right to see how the letters work before printing.

If everything looks correct, you can click [Finish & Merge] > Print Documents.

If you are printing thank you letters, you will want to return to Trail Blazer and click the [Sent] button for those people that the letter was mailed to.

You can now utilize the mail-merge Word document that you’ve created, when you need to export and merge again in the future.  For future merges, you will use these settings:

And select the file that has the merge fields included.

 Tip: you can upload and save a copy of the word document that you create, into the System Gallery in your database.  That way other users will have access to it.  Example:

The related resources below will provide quick links to other related articles and videos.

Related Resources

Article: Creating and Saving Default Formats for Reporting with the Grid

Article: How to Print Envelopes

Article: How to Print Household Labels

Article: How to Print Mail-Merge Address Labels

Article: How to Mass Update a List of Contacts with an Attribute Item

Video: Beginning Queries – Nonprofit

Video: Year End Tax Letter

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