Personalized e-Mails using Word and Outlook

If you are the secretary of a club or church organization you may want to send personalized e-mails to a number of people. You can do this in Microsoft Word by creating the e-mails as a regular Word document. Then, when you are done, you can send the document as an email message to the recipients using Outlook.

All of this can be easily automated and we’ll show you how.

Launch Microsoft Word, choose File > New and click to create a new blank document. Click the Mailings tab and select Start Mail Merge > Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard. A pane will open up on the right of the screen – this is where you make your choices. Start by clicking the E-mail Messages option button at the top of the pane and click Next: Starting Document at the foot of the pane.

On the left of the screen select the Use the Current Document option and click Next: Select Recipients. At the top of the pane click Select from Outlook Contacts and then click Choose Contacts Folder. If prompted, to select a contacts folder, click the one which contains your contacts and click Ok. The Mail Merge Recipients dialog will open and show you the contacts in your Contacts folder.

Click the checkbox in the top row of the dialog to deselect all the checkboxes below it. Now go through the list and click the checkbox for each contact who is to receive the email message. When this is done, click Ok. Now click Next: Write your letter.

You can now type your email message in the main editing window. You can add a field (placeholder) in the document that will be filled with the person’s first name, for example, when the emails are assembled ready to send. To do this, click where the first name will go and click More Items in the pane on the right. Click the field called First, click Insert and click Close.

When you are done, click Next: Preview your letters. In the pane click the << or >> buttons to see how each person’s email will look when sent. If everything looks correct, click Next: Complete the Merge. If not, click Previous: Write your letter to go back one step to make corrections.

Click Electronic Mail to display the Merge to E-mail dialog. The To: dropdown list should contain Email_Address. Type the subject for the email in the Subject Line box. From the Mail Format list choose HTML. Click All to send the message to all the selected recipients and click Ok to complete the merge. When you next open Outlook and when e-mails are sent, these messages will be sent too. Save the Word document if you think you will need to reuse it later on.

If you don’t have your contacts in Outlook, you can actually use an Excel list as the source for your personalized mailing.
The Excel sheet should be formatted as shown in the image below, with each column only containing one type of information – for example, all your email addresses must be in the same column. Once you have set up your list in Excel, save it on your computer, and then instead of selecting Outlook as your source (in step 2 above), select “Existing List” and then select your Excel list. The rest of the process is the same as described in the steps above.