Why we need mail merge?
Sometimes we need to send same email to more than one recipients but we don’t want to let the recipients know about what are the other people are there in the ‘to’ list of the email. We want as, everyone gets the email individually with only their name in the ‘to’ section. One very normal solution of this problem is, copy the mail body paste every time for different people. There are couple of significant problems with this method. Firstly, say if we need to send the email to 50 people, then we need to paste it 50 times. That is a lot of unnecessary work. Secondly, we cannot customize the body of the email for each recipient because it is just plain old copy and paste process.
The actual solution of this problem is ‘mail merge’. With ‘mail merge’ we can send more than one people same email with little bit of customization for the individual people without copy and paste. We need to setup the recipients, then compose the email body and with single send button click say 50 or 100 recipients will get the email. That is the power of ‘mail merge’.
What we need for a ‘mail merge’?
We need ‘Microsoft Word’, ‘Excel’ and ‘Outlook’ installed in our computer for ‘mail merge’. The email account from where we need to send the emails, we need to configure that account to ‘Outlook’.
How to do the ‘mail merge’?
- Open an ‘Excel’ and fill all the recipient name and email addresses and save to your hard disk.
- Open ‘Word’ and create a new blank document. Go to ‘Mailing’ tab and click on ‘Select Recipients’ and ‘Use and Existing List…’ and select the ‘Excel’ file which have all your recipients.
- Now in the next step, you need to compose the email body. While composing you can select different ‘Merge Fields’. ‘Merge Fields’ will generate different output for different recipients. For example, if you select ‘Hi [First Name]’ then it will give output ‘Hi Jon’ for Jon and ‘Hi Bob’ for bob. Your recipient will think you send them the email individually.
- When you are done with your email body, you can send the email. Before sending the email actually, you can take a look at the final output by clicking on the ‘Preview Results’ button. Here you can traverse through your final output for each recipients by clicking on the ‘next’ and ‘preview’ buttons.
- To send the email click on ‘Finish & Merge’ button and then ‘Send Email Messages…’. After that ‘Word’ will automatically send the emails by using your ‘Outlook’ default account. You can check ‘Outlook Sent Items’ folder for the emails which has been sent.
‘Mail Merge’ saves our time and efforts by automating the repetitive work for us. Without this we need to copy and paste email for each recipient which is not good way to do things. If you have recipients save to your ‘Outlook’ you can tell ‘Word’ to use that instead of an ‘Excel’ file.
You can read the official tutorial about ‘Mail Merge’ here.