E-mail merge in Word allows you to send personalised e-mails to recipients in your address list. Each message has similar information, yet the content of each message is unique. For example, in e-mails to your customers, each message can be personalised to address each customer by name. The unique information in each message is taken from contact information stored elsewhere in places like an Access database or an Excel spreadsheet.
With e-mail merge, each e-mail message is a separate mailing where each recipient is the sole recipient of each message. This gives a different effect than merely adding multiple e-mail addresses to the CC or BCC fields of the e-mail, in which case recipients know that they are not the only one to receive this email.
There are some pre-requisites for using e-mail merge in Word:
- you must use a MAPI-compatible e-mail program. Outlook is OK for this.
- you must use the same versions of Outlook and Word. So, Word 2010 and Outlook 2010 work together fine.
- You cannot add recipients to the Cc (Carbon copy) line. Each recipient receives a copy of the message by being addressed on the To line of the message.
The E-Mail Merge Process
The e-mail merge consists of the following steps:
- Create the e-mail message in Word
- Connect the e-mail document to your list of contacts
- Add mail merge fields to the e-mail document
- Preview and complete the merge
Create The E-Mail Message In Word
This step consist of typing out the message that you want to send out to your contacts. This document can consist of text and pictures. Go to the Mailings tab and click Start Mail Merge (in the Start Mail Merge group). Select E-Mail Messages.
The layout of the page will now look a little different as you are working in web layout. Type out your message using any headings and graphics you think you need.
Connect The E-Mail Document To Your List Of Contacts
Now you need to connect your document to a data source that contains a list of your e-mail contacts. If you don’t already have a list of contacts, you can create one as part of the e-mail merge process. If you’re using a data file, it must include a heading titled E-mail address.
Click Select Recipients on the Mailings tab (in the Start Mail Merge group). For this example, we’re going to create a contact list as we go, so select Type New List. You can then add contacts using the form that opens. Your list is saved as a database (.mdb) file that you can reuse.
You are provided with quite a few columns, but you can add or remove any you want. For example, if you were interested only in adding details about first and last name an e-mail address, you would customise the form to look something like this:
Pressing the tab key at the end of each line will create a new blank line for you to type into. When the list is complete, click OK. When the Save Address List window opens, give the list a name, find a place to save it and click Save. Notice that the list has a .mdb extension. You can use this list in future e-mail merges.
Add Mail Merge Fields To The E-Mail Document
Now that the e-mail document has been written, and the contact list has been defined, we can start substituting in personal information relating to each recipient. Any field that appears in the contact form we filled out earlier can be added.
Word makes it easy to insert standard blocks of text like greeting lines and address blocks by providing corresponding command buttons for them. We can also insert individual fields from our contact list by using the Insert Merge Field command.
We’ll create the greeting line manually to get a feel for how the Insert Merge Field command works. Position the cursor in the document where you want the greeting to go and type “Dear “. Then click the bottom half of the Insert Merge Field button. Select First Name.
The field will appear like this in your document:
Repeat this process for any other personal information you want to use in the e-mail.
Preview And Complete The Merge
Once you’ve finished adding the merge fields, you can preview the merge results and then complete the merge. The preview allows you to make changes before sending out the final email. Go to the Preview Results group of the Mailings tab and click Preview Results. Any merge fields you added to your document will display real data from your contact list.
You can use the controls in the Preview Results group to step through each contact in your list.
If you are happy with the way the preview looks, click Finish & Merge > Send E-Mail Messages.
In the To box, select the name of the field that stores recipients’ e-mail address.
In the Subject line box, type a subject line for the message. In the Mail format box, click HTML or Plain text to send the document as the body of the e-mail message, or click Attachment to send the document as an attachment. Click OK to send your emails!