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In Word 2007: Mail Merge in Depth, author Gini Courter demonstrates how to take advantage of Word's Mail Merge feature to save a tremendous amount of time creating customized documents. The course offers tutorials on creating letters, emails, envelopes, and labels. It also shows how to use Mail Merge with Outlook and Excel, creating data sources, inserting fields, using IF and other rules for customized merges, and troubleshooting Mail Merge issues. Exercise files are included with the course.
Email merge is a Word feature added several versions ago that flew under the radar of many Word users. Even users who've been merging letters for years are often creating emails listing dozens of recipients. The kinds of emails that you and I are less likely to read when we are really busy. After all, if an email was sent to 40 people, how important can it be for me to read it? With email merge you can create personalized individual letters for each of your recipients. Emails that they are much more likely to read.
As with the merged letter, we're going to began with some text that we've already created and that's formatted. On the Mailings tab in Microsoft Word then, we will choose Start Mail Merge > Email Messages. Notice that Word reformats the text and re-wraps it. Now we'll choose Select Recipients. And whatever recipients list I choose must have email addresses in it. I'm going to choose my Microsoft Outlook contacts, but you could just as easily choose an Excel workbook or an Access database that also included email addresses.
And I'm actually going to create a mail merge that I could send to all of my contacts if I wish. Word goes out to Microsoft Outlook, connects, and returns my list of contacts so that I could, for example, filter them and only choose the people in a particular state. We'll talk about that later. But we're hooked up and we can now begin inserting fields. Obviously, your contacts will look different than mine. So I can say Hi First name. And then say you and your colleagues at...
And I want a company name here, so I am going to insert Company. All of these field names are coming to me from Outlook, okay, and I even want to put in a little note that says something about the location. So, I'm going to go ahead and drop a Location in there, and insert another merge field, a First name. Now let's go ahead and preview the results. Hi Tony! It would be much more affordable than flying trainers out to Washington. Doesn't this look exactly like an email that I would sit down and type out to Tony, or type out to Isaac, or Jane, or Alan? And that's the point. We're all used to getting targeted mail, but were not yet used to getting targeted email that has a casual tone and where names are inserted throughout the e-mail.
So, make sure that you check your spelling. Very important to do, because there's nothing better than an email merge that sends the same spelling mistake to all of your friends and all of your colleagues. So check your spelling. Check for errors, pay particular attention to punctuation, and anything else that's near to characters. You can go back to the Mailings tab and turn off Preview to check if you wish. And when you're ready now to finalize and merge, this is not going to a printer. You're going to merge this email directly out to folks.
So we have a couple of strategies that we want to talk about here. First, if in Microsoft Outlook, let's say I was going to send this to 450 people or even 100 people and I wanted to look at them. Because there's no print job on this, what I can do is I can go to Microsoft Outlook and I can decide that what I'd like to do is I'd like to work offline. By taking Outlook offline, when these merged documents are created. they won't go right through my Outbox to Sent Items.
They'll actually stay in my Microsoft Outlook Outbox, so that I have a moment to look at them before I send out messages that would have an error in them. So that's one strategy, and a good one, to go offline before you finish your mail merge. I'm going to click Finish and Merge and choose Send Email Messages. And it says whom do I sending it to? And I'm using -- this is the address field, out of Microsoft Outlook. I need to provide a subject line and I'm going to say "Catching up on your training needs." And I want to send all the records, but I could send a chunk of records.
Here's another strategy. If I send 400 email messages at one time or 300 email messages at one time, many email systems are going to say, "That looks like spam. Let's go ahead and stop that, just in case." So I could go in and say send 1 to 25, 26 through 50, 51 through 75, and so on. So I am going to quickly create the first 50 email messages. And again, they're not going anywhere yet. They're going to my Outbox in Microsoft Outlook.
So I am going to OK. Very quickly, if you watch the screen, you'll notice that Word rips through the first data sources. It will come all the way back and that's how I am going to know that it's done. If I was online right now, all of those messages are now on their way to my recipients. But because I'm offline, I can go back into Microsoft Outlook and go to my Outbox and actually take a look at any one of those messages that I wish to preview. So, I can open up the message to Marlene and take look and say, "Ah, Looks good!" That's the message I want to send and then send it again.
All of these messages will be sent now, when I go back to File and turn off Work Offline. We're all used to getting targeted email, what many people just call junk mail. So were used to ignoring those personalized letters that aren't really all that personal. On the other hand, most users assume that an email addressed only to them that includes information, their name again in the body or state information, isn't junk mail, but an email message that you sat down and typed.
If you're sending 50 emails and want them to be read, don't include all the recipients in the To or CC or even BCC boxes. Instead, use Microsoft Word mail merge and create personalized emails hat will get your recipient's attention.
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