Email mail merge: All about personalized emails using Excel - Word & Outlook

Vidya Gopinath for keySkillsetVidya Gopinath for keySkillset
Vidya Gopinath for keySkillset
Email mail merge: All about personalized emails using Excel - Word & Outlook

Are you a Startup planning a special event, your first webinar, and wondering how to send out personalized emails in bulk? Well, you would likely have heard of email mail merge, then. Have you heard of mail merge in Excel? You know that personalization is the key to attracting the attention of the customers. But, manually customizing over 100+ emails will be time consuming. But, mail merge with outlook makes it possible now to personalize your emails by the recipient’s name, their address, and any other details.

You will have to use mail merge in Excel, mail merge with Outlook, and mail merge on Word- all part of Microsoft 365 office suite - to create and send bulk emails out. Excel would be used first, followed by Word, and then Outlook. What do you need these for? What is mail merge in word? Can you do mail merge with excel and mail merge with outlook

Let us see: 

Excel - to store the data of individuals

Word- It’s where all Mail Merges happen, including an Email mail merge

Outlook- Used to send out emails to individuals.

So, here let us see the two methods to send out these mails: 

         1) Using Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and Outlook)

         2) Using Email Merge for Outlook

How to Mail Merge in Word, Excel & Outlook

First question you may ask is why email merges in the times of marketing automation tools? Well,  this is usually when you have bulk emails to send out but not to the extent that it warrants or justifies spending on a full marketing automation platform. In such a scenario, mail merge is a powerful tool to use. 

First Step: Composing the message

On the MS Word, create a new document, which includes your full message to recipients. You can create this and put temporary placeholders for first name, last name, and any other details you would like to personalize in the final text. These can be added in a later step. Now save this file to your local drive.

Second Step: Creating the email list 

Here, open Excel, and then again save it to your local drive. And then create a new workbook. This worksheet will include separate columns for First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and any other details that you’d like to include so as to personalize the message. Make sure that all of the data you need is contained in Sheet 1 of this workbook. The mailing list is your data source. For more info, see Data sources you can use for a mail merge.


  • If you don’t have a mailing list, you can create one during mail merge.
  • If you're using an Excel spreadsheet, format the ZIP Codes or postal codes column as text to preserve any zeros. For more info see Format mail merge numbers, dates, and other values in Excel.
  • If you want to use your Outlook contacts, make sure Outlook is your default email program and the same versions as Word. 

Final step: Mail Merge

Now, open the Word document that you created in Step 1 and then follow the step-by-step instructions given below in Word’s Mail Merge Manager under Tools > Mail Merge Manager.

1. Select Document Type

Select the radio dial for “E-mail messages” and click next at the bottom of the sidebar

2. Select Starting Document

Having already opened the drafted email, select “Use the current document,” then click next.

3. Select Recipients

Select “Use an existing list” then browse for the file created in Step 2. Optionally filter or sort recipients if you would like to send the message to only a portion of those in the Excel file by selecting “Edit recipient list..."

4. Write your letter

This was completed in Step 1, but you can make any adjustments to the e-mail message now as well.

Any personalization aspects if added in Step 1, then select “More items…” on this screen. For each personalization aspect in your email, place the cursor in the correct location, then select the corresponding field and click “Insert.”

5. Preview your letters

Make sure your personalization inserts have worked properly with the recipient list.

6. Complete Merge

Outlook should be set as the computer’s default email program. Then, select the right-most icon to generate an email message. 

How easy is it to merge mail with outlook? 

Here is how easy it is to send out mail merge with Outlook. First, download and install the EmailMerge. Then, go on to restart the Outlook. You should see the EmailMerge button on the Outlook ribbon under the (Standss Outlook Addins). Once you select the email merge icon, the welcome screen will pop-up. In addition to creating merges, you also have a Scheduler for easy Pause, Cancel and Reschedule of merges. You can also use the List Manager to segment your list. Meanwhile, with targeted mailing to each segment, the responses will increase and unsubscribes will reduce. Email Merge has templates which you can use, edit or add to the existing library. With Email Merge you can also track who has opened and clicked your emails. You will get instant notifications. 

Click the Create a new merge icon. You can select a template or just start with a blank email. Then, you can choose from where your contact information is going to come from.  You can select from a variety of sources, including the Excel file as your data source. In the next screen, select the Excel sheet that you want to use and then move on to the next step. Here, set what data fields in your list contain the email address, name and company. It is possible to send different attachments to different recipients with EmailMerge. You can select the contacts who you want to send your emails to. In case there is no required information, you can specify in EmailMerge what information is to be used instead. Go on with the EmailMerge wizard till you get to the step where you can start composing your email. Once you have composed your email, then click on Resume Email Merge from the EmailMerge group from the toolbar. A preview will pop-up of what the merged emails would look like. 

As a next step, choose between different sending options- you can send your merges via a scheduler or just send them away immediately after finishing. If you have to send a large number of merges, you can send them via the scheduler and the scheduler will automatically shut down your computer once the merge process is complete.

After setting up your sending options and merge tracking options, you can click on the Finish button. 

And that is all. 

With Email merge, now, you can easily send out emails directly within Outlook. There is no need to switch between 3 different apps. It takes just a few clicks to send out personalized mass emails, now directly from Outlook. 


Why this article? While it is talking about email merge, the software used for this also includes Word and Excel. So, essentially this is a hack on leveraging the multiple functions of the MS Office suite. Email mail merge is a powerful tool that allows businesses and individuals to send personalized emails in bulk, streamlining the process and saving time. By utilizing Excel, Word, and Outlook, you can easily create and send professional, customized emails to your entire mailing list. Whether you're sending promotional emails, newsletters, or automated follow-ups, mail merge can help you reach your target audience in a more effective and efficient way. With its wide range of features and easy-to-use interface, mail merge is a must-have for anyone looking to take their email marketing to the next level.

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