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Word 2010: Mail Merge in Depth
Illustration by Neil Webb

Creating personalized email messages


From:

Word 2010: Mail Merge in Depth

with Gini Courter

Video: Creating personalized email messages

Using merge to create e-mail messages 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 e-mails that includes dozens of recipients, the kind of e-mails that you and I are less likely to read when we're busy. I mean, if this e-mail was sent to 40 people, how important could it be for you or I to read it. With e-mail merge, you can create personalized, individual e-mails for each of your 40 recipients, e-mails that they are much more likely to read.

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Word 2010: Mail Merge in Depth
1h 31m Intermediate Sep 10, 2010

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In Word 2010: 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.

Topics include:
  • Choosing or creating a data source
  • Using Mail Merge with Outlook contacts
  • Merging data from an Excel spreadsheet
  • Inserting address blocks and greetings
  • Matching fields from a data source
  • Previewing merge results
  • Using rules for customized merges
Subject:
Business
Software:
Word
Author:
Gini Courter

Creating personalized email messages

Using merge to create e-mail messages 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 e-mails that includes dozens of recipients, the kind of e-mails that you and I are less likely to read when we're busy. I mean, if this e-mail was sent to 40 people, how important could it be for you or I to read it. With e-mail merge, you can create personalized, individual e-mails for each of your 40 recipients, e-mails that they are much more likely to read.

As with a merge letter, you begin with your formatted text. I have a letter here on the screen that I want to send out by e-mail to a number of people. So we'll go to the Mailing tab and start with Start mail merge and choose Email Messages. Notice that Word reformats this to a wider format and almost looks like in an e-mail message already. And now I'm going to choose recipients. I'm going to choose Select Recipients, > Use Existing List and for this e-mail message, I'm going to choose a file that I have in Excel, and so that's how my desktop, in my Exercise Files folder, in Chapter 2.

This is called Prospects. So I'm going to open this, and it's actually a workbook that has only one worksheet in it, called Email Prospects, and I'm going to say OK to connect to that data source. So if I go take a look at my Recipient List, what you'll see is your Last Names, First Names, Company Names, and Addresses. The field I care about is I actually had e-mail addresses in here, and they look like valid e-mail addresses. They have @ symbols in them, so I can send them outside of my organization. So now it's time to insert some merge fields. I could use a Greeting Line.

I could say, Dear whomever. But you know, just saying Hi by itself is probably OK, and all of these actually have a first name. So I'm going to insert a First_Name. Hi First_Name. I was on the linda.com training site looking at the huge list of Microsoft Office courses and thought of you and your colleagues @ your Company Name here and make sure that I tend to this space before and after, because remember, Grammar Check won't catch that for me, so I'm going to hit, here we go, no extra spaces. Have you considered online training at all? I'd love to talk with you about this.

I believe it would be a great way to use some of your training budget this year, and would be much more affordable than flying trainers out to your location. You could do City, State. I kind of like State here. Flying trainers out of Washington, sounds good. I can always change my mind about some of this. Now I want to make sure there's no space here, and when I space or backspace, there isn't one space, no, there are no extra spaces. Notice that Word has flagged this. As I said, the Grammar Check doesn't work real well around fields. I'll give you a call later this week, or you can e-mail me and let me know if you'd like to talk.

It would be good to catch up with you. I want to tuck a First Name in here one more time. I'll give you a call later this week, space <>, or you can e-mail me and let me know when you'd like to talk. Now let's take a look and see how those look. I'll go to Preview Results. Hi Sharon, thought of you and your colleagues at flying trainers out to -- I think it just doesn't like my mid western grammar here. I could say flying trainers to Minnesota, see, and it goes away. You know, I'd say "out to," so I'm going to leave it in here.

This letter is all about sounding just like me. Just like I sat down and typed this out to Sharon. That's the whole point. Or I sat and typed it out to Meredith. So, good-looking letters. I'm liking this. So I should run Spell Check and run Grammar Check, except you know, I'm going to ignore it, the Grammar Check piece already. What I want to make sure that this letter is exactly what I want to sent by e-mail. Now, here's the part that gets tricky. When I'm all done, I don't want to print these. I want to send e-mail messages. Don't click that yet, because when you do, when I click the Send Email messages, these e-mail messages are going to fly right out of Word directly to Outlook, jump in the inbox for like in a microsecond, and then they'll be out and about in the world.

So if I have an error here, I'm going to be sending it out to everybody. Not only that, but if I am sending it like to a hundred people, or 200, or 300, I'm going to trip over some of those triggers for spam that are based simply on the volume that I'm sending. So before I do this merge, a couple of things. So we're going to go over to Outlook, click on Send and Receive, and say I'd like to Work Offline, and notice that this is turned on. Down in the status bar it says I'm Working Offline. What this means is that no e-mails will be sent or received right now.

Now, I can go back to Microsoft Word, and it would just be ever so smart for me to merge a few of these, rather than all of them, at first. So I'm going to send e-mail messages by Email. I identify the subject line, and the subject line of this could say, publicity for lynda.com But I'm going to say something like, how are you doing? Because I want to seem you know friendly, and basically I am friendly. And then I'm going to just merge a handful of records, 1 to 5, okay, and then I'm going to say OK. Now if I were going to do this for a number of these, I'm actually going to copy this subject line, because I'm going to be pasting it a few more times.

So I'm going to say OK. My merge is done. That quick. If I go back to Outlook and I look in my Outbox, I'll find there are five letters there. All of them have the subject that I gave, How are you doing, and now I can go take a look, and I can proof a couple of them say, yeah, that looks good. That's exactly what I expected to have happen. The outlook's good, too. Now if I only wanted five letters, I could actually just double-click and send these again, and they would go back into the queue to send, or I could delete them all, okay. No harm no foul. Say OK, I'm done with working offline, because the whole point of working offline, actually was to be able to go in and to make sure the stuff was held up long enough that I actually could go in and intercede if there was an issue with some letters.

Now I'll come back and I'll decide how many letters I want to do at a time. If I have more than 50, I'm probably going to break them into batches. 1 through 50, 51 to 100, 101 to 150, and so on. So I'm just going to choose Finish & Merge. I'm going to say I want to Send Email Messages. The subject line will remain from time to time, if I don't change it. Tell it that I want to do, in the first batch, 1 to 50, click OK, and send all of my letters flying right through my Outbox to my Sent Items and out my friends.

Now you and I are used to getting targeted mail - what many of us just refer to as junk mail - so we're used to ignoring those personalized letters that really aren't all that personal. On the other hand, most users assume that any e-mail that is addressed only to them, and that has personal information within the body from someone that they know isn't junk mail, but a message that you actually took the time to sit and type yourself. So if you're sending 50 e-mails and you really want most of them to be read, don't send one e-mail that's copied to 50 people or even one e-mail with 50 people in the BCC field.

Use Microsoft Word mail merge and create personalized e-mail that will be opened and read by the people you send them to.

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