Matching Fields in Mail Merge

When using the Address Block or Greeting Line features of Mail Merge, the fields have to be specific.
• For the Name fields, you may use either “First Name,” “FName,” or even simply “First” to cause Word to recognize that the data in the field is associated with a first name.  The same varieties apply to the Last Name field.
• Use the full words “Address,” “City,” and “State.”  Abbreviations of these words are not recognized by Word.  However, “Zip” is recognized for “Zip Code.”

In a perfect world, everyone would be aware of, and follow, these naming conventions.  However, you may have a data source which uses different field names.  In these cases, the Address Block and Greeting Line features may not work as expected.  If this happens, you can tell Word exactly which fields should be used and where they should be placed.

This is an example of a data source in Excel that does NOT use the correct field names:

Excel Fields

Several fields, Name-Last, Name-First, Addr, and ST, do not use the correct field names.  When we attempt to use the Address Block feature, our results look like this: 


We can correct this by matching our field names with the fields used in the Address Block. 

From the Insert Address Block dialog box or the Write & Insert Fields group on the Ribbon, click Match Fields.

The Match Fields dialog box opens.  On the left of the dialog box is a list of fields required for all special fields.  Notice that the First Name, Last Name, Address 1, and State fields are not matched.  To match the required field with our field names, click the drop-down arrow to the right.  Choose the correct field name from the list.  For example: Click the drop-down arrow next to First Name.  Choose Name-First from the list.  Excel now knows to use the Name-First field in place of First Name.  The remaining fields can be matched the same way.


When all of the fields have been matched, click OK.  The Address Block should now be correct.

The Match Field dialog box can also be used to remove unneeded fields.  For example, if you don’t want the Address Block to include a Title, click the drop-down arrow and choose “(not matched)” from the list of fields. 



  1. Raymond Jenkins

    When trying to follow your example I recieved the following error:

    “Word found locked fields during update. Word cannot update the locked fields. ”

    Can you tell me what I did wrong?


    Hi April,

    Thanks for taking the time to post this – was just what I needed…the boss was pushing hard for me to get this done and your information helped me solve the final piece.


  3. Roel Agassi

    Nice trick! But I think you’re example data in the picture has correct data under their respective categories. Anyways, I understand the idea. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Rachel

    Is there a way to permanently disable the Match Fields function? In order for my users to see the columns I want them to see when they select recipients, I have to set all fields to Not Matched. This takes forever whenever I have to update my documents (there are many). Is there anything I can do to either permanently disable this “help” or to by default set all fields to “Not Matched”? Thank you! Rachel

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