Mail merges are really useful if you want to create multiple documents at once (for example, sending an email to several recipients). The text, layout and graphics will be the same, and only certain parts of it are personalised (for example, the greeting, the recipient’s name).
You can use a Mail Merge to create emails, labels, letters and envelopes. For this example, let’s assume we’re using Excel to send an email to several recipients.
Step 1: Prepare your data in Excel
Before you start, you need to make sure you have your data ready. Set up a spreadsheet in Excel with the names of the people you want to send to.
Make sure that the column names you have in your spreadsheet match the field names you want to insert in your document. If you want to address people by their first name, you’ll need a separate column for first and last names.
Step 2: Starting the mail merge
Open Word and choose File > New > Blank document.
In the Mailings tab, click the Start Mail Merge drop-down menu and choose Start Mail Merge – you can then pick the type of mail merge you want to run (in this case, ‘E-mail Messages’).
Next, click Select Recipients > Use and Existing List.
Locate the spreadsheet with your data and choose Open. (You may be prompted to choose Sheet1$ > OK)
Your Excel spreadsheet is now connected to the mail merge Word document.
Step 3: Insert a merge field
You can insert a merge field that pulls the information from your spreadsheet into your document. In this example, we’ll use the first name of the recipient.
Start by inserting your greeting. Type ‘Hi’ or ‘Dear’ into the Word document.
Click OK then File > Save.
Next, we will insert data from your spreadsheet into the email message.
Make sure your cursor is where you want the data to appear (so in this case, just after the ‘Hi’). In the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Insert Merge Field and choose how you will address your recipients. In this example, we’ll use Firstname.
Your document will now look like this:
Click File > Save.
Step 4: Insert your content
Copy and paste the content you want to send to the recipients in to the body of the document:
Let’s insert a second field from the spreadsheet – ‘Company’. This makes the email even more personal.
Place your cursor where you want the field to appear – in this case, we want it to be at the end of the first sentence:
Repeat the same steps that you did to insert the Firstname – click Insert Merge Field and choose Company.
You will now see the field inserted into the body of your email:
Step 5: Preview and finish the mail merge
You can now preview the results to confirm that the content is ok.
On the Preview Results tab, choose the Preview Results icon.
Use the forward and back arrows to scroll through the records and make sure the firstnames and company names are appearing as you want them to.
Once you’re happy with everything, click Finish & Merge and choose Send Email Messages.
You will then be prompted to enter the subject line of the email and click OK.
Your email will now be sent to every recipient on the list. A copy of each email will appear in your sent items: