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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
I have a new task that I need to perform and I am unable to locate the right Outlook plug-in software for this........ On the first of each month, I need to send a personalized b-day email to everyone in my contact list, who has a birthday that month. Do you know of anything out there that can automactially generate mail by Contact 'field' (DOB)? Thank you, Sharon
Any one can help on the 2 ponits below - How to specify which account i want to use to send this merge mail while i have mutiple account in my outlook, can i change to not use the default one? - Can i have the vote button in the merge mail without editing the messages individually ?
Thanks this was exactly what I needed! On the Microsoft website there are companies that advertise for you to buy add-on software that does this same thing.
As earlier noted, Outlook does not appear to offer this functionality. However an add on to Outlook - Business Contact Manager - does and is much more efficient a tool for mail merges. It comes with Office 2007 Pro and may be available as a seperate dowmload from Microsoft.
Useful blog. We use BCM (OL2007), is there anyway to include the Title in the Greeting line, it doesn't seem to be an available field in the mailmerge or match fields option. Paul
With Outlook 2003, I was able to select my contacts for a mail merge to print envelopes or labels. I have not been able to accomplish this with Outlook 2007. I have to mail merge in Word and then select my outlook contacts. I am unable to use customized merge fields (they don't show up on the list) doing it this way- I could do it with Outlook 2003. Any suggestions?
This is really excellent. One question - can you attach attachments to the email being merged?
This is very helpful. I do have one other question. I frequently need to send a mass (welcome) email out to new chamber members that are not in my address book. And I really don't need to put them in that. Is there a way to enter addresses into the mail merge TO section that are NOT in your contacts? Thanks.
This is great, but how do I manage all the bounched emails. I have them all in a mail folder and would like to compare them to the orginal contract list to see which bounched?
Why isn't this article at the TOP of the list when you look for online help. It is perfect, all the HOW TO DO should be like this one, with pictures; the show me feature is the best THANKS. It worked with no problems.
The process works great; however, is there a way to specify which email account we prefer to use to send the message? Currently I have multiple accounts linked to Outlook and the main email is the one it keeps selecting. However, I need the messages to come from my other Outlook email account. Please help. Thanks, Cathy
I followed your instructions, step by step.... but after I entered the "subject" line... i seemed to have to wait a million years... it was definitely doing something... so I waited...and guess what, it SENT a blank email with JUST my subject line to all 600+ contacts that I had selected!!!!
This was just short of a DISASTER...since I was doing this to send from a different account... I figured it would let me create the emails, then I would manually change the account....
but it SENT the emails EVEN BEFORE I COULD PUT ANY TEXT INTO THE BODY!! ARGH!!!
So...something definitely went wrong... any ideas?
I, too, am going to start using Outlook more for these kinds of mass mailings...but I need to understand what went wrong before I ever do this again...
To specify account go offline and reset your default. Reset after your merge. I do not merge that often so it is not a problem. There may be a simpler step but I have not found it.
Did anyone get a sensible response about the selecting a different mailbox issue? I know there is a solution where the other account is set up as an account and not just a mailbox which enables you to physically log in as the different account (but I am having problem with my help desk setting this up) or you can add your email address into the datasource so you can add that as the send to field but these are all messy and time consuming. I have individual emails which I have to send out to 200 people from my IT Service Delivery mailbox but I cant seem to see how without logging into the other mailbox or forwarding each of these individually
this is GREAT but its now 2011 im sure attachments are easy to add
CAN anyone pls tell me how to add attachments (PDF, JPG and othes)