Unlocking the power of Mail Merge

It’s almost 5pm, but you still have 30 more clients to call and follow-up with. The message is the same – are you still happy? Mail Merge will let you send a personalized email to each client, without having to spend hours on the phone or computer. The beauty of this process is that each recipient will see your email as if it was sent directly to them from you. Here’s how it works using Microsoft Outlook 2013, Excel, and Word.

Step 1: Create your list in Excel

Open up a new Excel workbook. In Row 1, enter labels for the kinds of data you’ll want to put in your emails. For this example, I’m using “First Name,” “Email Address,” and “Additional Question.”  List under this the appropriate data. I’m using the “Additional Question” column for questions that would not apply to all of my clients.

Step 1 - Create List in ExcelI’m saving this file as “Contact List.xls.”

Pro tip: Always put your own contact information somewhere in this Excel list! This way you can validate that everything has sent correctly at the end.

Step 2: Create your email 

Compose your email in Outlook as you normally would, but use placeholder text for the items that are in your “Contact List” excel file. We will be replacing this text later with the information from your excel file. Remember – you will not be sending this email from Outlook.

Step 2.1 Compose Email

When this is done, copy and paste your email into Microsoft Word.  Be sure to include your email signature.

Step 2.2 Copy into MS Word

Step 3: Prepare the Mail Merge

Click the tab that says “Mailings,” and select “Start Mail Merge.” From the drop down box that appears, select “E-mail Messages.”

Step 3 Prepare the Mail Merge

Now we want to start adding details from that Excel file we put together a moment ago. Click the box that says “Select Recipients” and choose “Use an Existing List.” Navigate to where you saved the excel file from earlier and click “Open.” Step 3.2 Add recipients

You should then see the box below. Simply hit “Ok” to continue.
Step 3.3 Add recipients

Now we will add the fields from our Excel file into this email. Highlight the text that you would like to have replaced (below I am replacing “ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS”), then click the small drop-down arrow next to “Insert Merge Field” and select the corresponding column from your Excel file.
Step 3.4 Add recipients

Step 4: Preview and Send

I highly recommend using the “Preview Results” button before continuing. Select the icon with the magnifying glass, and use the small arrows to view a preview of what you are about to send.

Step 4 Preview and Send

If everything looks correct, you are ready to send! Click “Finish & Merge,” and select “Send Email Messages…”Step 4.2 Preview and Send The dialog box below will appear. This is where Word gives you the opportunity to input a subject line for your emails. (Please note that Word does not allow for different subject lines for each client.) Step 4.3 Preview and Send

Once you feel comfortable, click “Ok.” Now sit back and watch your emails send out one by one. This may take a few minutes, depending on the length of your list and the speed of your computer. Word will place a single email in the Outbox for each line in your excel file.

Congratulations – you’ve just knocked 30 non-revenue generating items off your to-do list in 5 minutes!

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  1. Hey, this is great. Thank you for posting this. I have used it a couple times and have sent this link to some colleagues asking how I did it.


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