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First of all, this post is dedicated to my aunt Gayla who runs a small business and has a lot of trouble with this feature. This post is not dedicated to those who might use this feature for spamming. :)
Mail merge is a feature of Outlook and Word that allows you to send a set of contacts a personalized e-mail as though they are the only person receiving the e-mail. With this feature, you can personalize the e-mail so that each of your recipients is the only person on the To: line and that the contents of the e-mail change based on information you have for each contact. Instead of starting the e-mail with “To whom it may concern,” you can have Outlook and Word automatically fill in the e-mail with your recipient’s name (e.g. “Dear Dan,”). Mail merge in Outlook is pretty hidden – most people don’t even know that you can send a personalized e-mail to each contact in a set of contacts the way you can print a set of form letters in Word. As a matter of fact, Outlook’s mail merge feature is built on Word’s functionality, which might add to the confusion. With this post I hope to clarify how to use this feature to send an e-mail to a group of people in your contacts.
The basic steps to creating a mail merged e-mail from Outlook are:
If you already have the e-mail you want to send written in Word, start at step 3 and see this help article for more specific steps. (There are also some great step-by-step training videos for this feature on Office Online.)
In Outlook, navigate to Contacts (Ctrl-3) and select the set of contacts you want to send your e-mail to: (hold the Ctrl key down and click on multiple contacts):
Tip: Use categories for the set of people you want to e-mail and then arrange your contacts by category. To send “mail merge” e-mail to each of them, click on the category header.
Note: The mail merge feature does not work with personal distribution lists. (I’m sorry!!)
Note 2: You will only be able to send e-mails to contacts that have an e-mail in the e-mail field.
Next, in the menu bar, click Tools, then Mail Merge
to get to this dialog:
First, under“Contacts,” select “Only selected contacts”
Next, under “Merge options”, under “Merge to:” select “E-mail”
A subject line will appear – fill it in with your subject. Note: your subject will be the same for all of your recipients.
Word will be initialized and then appear. When starting a mail merge from within Word, the first step is to select the recipients, but you’ve already done that in Outlook, so the next step is to write the e-mail.
Treat the Word document as the body of your e-mail – because it is. Focus on the Write and Insert Fields group in the Ribbon:
To insert a greeting, click on “Greeting Line”
To insert a field, click on “Insert Merge Field” (on the top for a dialog, or on the bottom half of the button for a drop down list).
Note: There are a lot of contact fields to choose from.
Once you have your e-mail the way you want it, you can preview what it will look like before you send it by clicking on “Preview Results” and then clicking on the left and right scroll buttons in the Preview Results group:
Step 5: Send it!
The last step is to send your e-mail. Just click “Finish&Merge” and “Send E-mail Messages…”
Which will bring up this dialog:
You can then watch as Word goes through each of your contacts and sends the mail.
And that’s it!
For more information on this feature see Office Online.
Melissa MacBeth Outlook PM
More info on Mail Merge:
Use mail merge to send personalized e-mail messages to your e-mail address listWebinar: Mail MergeUse mail merge to streamline mass mailings
A first rate article on a feature that I had not used before.
This will come in very handy at Christmas. :-)
Just a note...in order to send merged documents in Outlook, you must have the same version of Word installed. You can't send a personalized email with mail merge if you are running Outlook 2007 and Word 2003 (per Microsoft's knowledge base).
Thanks for the instructions on the Mail Merge. This was very helpful. I have a question, but am not sure if it belongs here or not - but what if in the document you have a table - and you want the subject line to be in the first row of the table and the person to whom you are sending the email message to in the second row - and then in the third cell the personalized message? And is this possible to do with a template? -- Jae
Great! Many thanks!
One of the best tips in this blog.
Where can one go to find out troubleshooting tips? I have a issue with Outlook 2007 where it is in an endless send and receive loop. So far.....13244 tasks have completed...... OUCH.
This is cool. I've done this a few times because I didn't want to spring for one of the tools you can buy. Finally, I did buy one. I like "Send Personally" from MapiLabs. It allows you to work entirely inside Outlook and removes some of the complexity. Either way, email merge is a life saver.
How to do this on your enterprise address book? We often send mails to many of our collegues and want to do the same. These names are not in our contacts but are taken for corporate address book.
I have Outlook 2007 and Word/ Excel etc 2003 installed on my laptop at work. When I tried I got a message that the version of Word should match that of outlook. Is this a hard requirement or is there a way of working around it ? At my company, we have Outlook 2007 for email but we are in process of transitioning to Office 2007 so most computers still have Word / Excel and Powerpoint from Office 2003.
Why is Microsoft hiding these cool features deep down in the menus? I used a paid software to do this kind of 'mass mailing'. God damn you Microsoft ;)
What a great feature! I wish I had known about this a long time ago, it sure would have saved me a bunch of time. I will be sure to use this going forward - THANKS!
Thanks, but is there any way to handle attachments also?
Is it possible to add an attachment to your email when using mail merge in this way? Thanks
Mail merges cannot send attachments at this time. Perhaps a future version of Outlook will but not at present. There are third party software solutions that do work with attachments.
Is it possible to request a delivery notification and read receipt when sending emails this way?
I have MS Office 2007, when in Outlook and I click on Tools I do not have Mail Merge as a choice. What's the scoop on that? I'm desperate to know. I am finding MS 2007 to be a HUGE burden for many daily functions. Compatibility issues with other co-workers, as well as people in general, clients, vendors, etc. Please help.