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thumbnail9I could have also titled this – Mail merge from Outlook. Because that’s exactly what this process is about. Mail merge is a powerful productivity feature of MS Word.

Before I leap ahead, mail merge is used when we want to create several documents that are basically the same but where each document contains unique details. For example, a set of letters where the content is the same but the name, address or even the subject bits are unique for each. The best use I have found – use it as a job hunting application with custom details for each employer.

The mail merge feature uses two parts – a main constant document and the inconstant data source – and merges them. With Outlook being a part of the MS Office suite, one can use this feature to bulk send mail, each personalized for a different contact (it ain’t spamming, although I guess mail merge is mass mailing by another name).

So here’s how to send mass emails in Outlook and make emails look personal:

Select contacts

    1. Open Outlook. Go to Contacts and select the people whom you want to mail by Ctrl – clicking the multiple names on your contact list. To effectively select the multiple names, opt for View – Arrange by – to send mass emails with outlook
    2. Remember: Mail merge does not work with distribution lists.

Mail merge contacts

    1. On the menu bar, go to Tools – Mail Merge. The Mail Merge Contacts dialog box opens up.
    2. For the fields bulleted under Contacts, choose Only selected contacts.
    3. At the bottom, for Merge options – Merge to; select Email from the drop down. A Message subject line field appears. Fill it with the common subject. Click OK.

The completed dialog box looks like this”¦

how to send mass email in outlook

Compose the email in Word

  1. When you click OK, MS Word starts up and opens in a new document with the focus on the Mailings tab. You can use the default document or any other template you desire.
  2. The selection of recipients has already been done from within Outlook. So, we will use the Write & Insert Fields panel to insert our custom fields.3_writeinsert-menu
  3. For the word of greeting, click on Greeting Line. Configure the greeting as you want it to appear.4_insert-greeting-line
  4. To insert any other contact specific like a home address or a phone number, click on Insert Merge Field for a large drop down list.5_insert-merge-field
  5. Write the body of the email in the Word document.
  6. Once you are finished with the fields you want to include, preview the final look by clicking on Preview Results and then moving through your recipients by clicking on the previous and next record buttons in the Preview Results panel.6_preview-results
    All that remains”¦ Mail it!
  7. Click on Finish & Merge – Send E-mail Messages. The Merge to E-mail dialog box opens up. Click on OK.7_mail

MS Word then does the job of automatically posting the emails in a flash. You can save the document you used for the mail merge, as it also saves the link with the data source i.e. the contacts.

Once you get the hang of it, the whole process takes barely a few minutes from start to finish. In the same time I would have earlier composed an email for just a single person; now, I did so for a group. So here’s how we managed to save on repetitive typing and save up on time.

Any other way to send personalized mass emails in Outlook? Do you use mail merge for email? Or the more common fields of carbon copy (cc) and the “˜anonymous’ blind carbon copy (bcc)? So, what are your productivity tips for Outlook? Share with them with us!

Image: ‘smil

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  1. OA
    January 30, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Can i send an e-mail from non-outlook mail account via MS Outlook 2016? For example, a company mail, or gmail etc.
    If answer is yes, how?

  2. AJ
    December 16, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Great post Saikat - very helpful with easy to follow instructions!

    • Saikat Basu
      December 23, 2016 at 8:11 am

      Thanks AJ. Glad it helped.

        June 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        Can you please tell how to add attachments in mail merge?

  3. Arpan Shah
    October 12, 2016 at 11:34 am

    You can simply signup on saleshandy and start sending personalized mass emails from your own company email address.

  4. Abhik
    June 25, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Can we send attachments with it

    • Saikat Basu
      June 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      No we can't send attachments with it, Abhik. You have to rely on thrid-party tools for that.

      • Jeremy Jacobson
        July 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm

        What kind of third party tools do I need? I want to send individual PDF attachment's to the respective owners and the email addresses are located in an excel spreadsheet. Is there such a tool for that?

  5. Tomek
    April 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    My question is still how you can use multiple addresses for Mail merge function in Outlook? Tomek

  6. Saang
    March 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Hello there, I wanted to send those contacts those who are in my excel sheet lists except my outlook email contact list. Does outlook mail merge allow me to do so or is there any option to extract the contact lists from excel sheets.

  7. Raji James
    December 16, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks for this great article. I'm having a slight problem however. I've created a great newsletter style template within Outlook (via Mailstyler) and this method doen't allow me to create my mass email through the Outlook template. (.oft).

    I hope that makes sense and any help / advice would be much appreciated.

  8. Dan Larsen
    December 7, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Saikat, This is an awesome post! Thanks much. I just sent out a mass personal mailing and it went out perfectly. All I did was follow your instructions. Thanks again for your thorough explanation. Dan Larsen

    • Saikat Basu
      December 8, 2015 at 8:36 am

      Glad it helped Dan. Thanks for your nice comment.

  9. Anand Kumar
    October 30, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I want to keep few people in carbon copy(CC) and Blind Carbon copy(BCC). So is it possible with automails or not.

    Pls. help.

  10. Navin Sahni
    March 5, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I want to send different pdf as attachment to each recipient; sort of invoice. I have a list of persons with email id to whom I can send these files. Please note that it is not same attachment file that is being sent. Please suggest how it can be done

    • Saikat
      March 5, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      My guess is that it will be too complicated to set it up with something like VBA programming. As the attachments are all different, it is something I am also not familiar with. Maybe, our community of readers in the Answers section can lend a hand.

    • Samantha
      April 9, 2015 at 8:35 am

      I have also been searching for a way to send different pdfs as attachments to individual recipients... and I have just discovered Mail Merge Toolkit. Does anyone have any experience with this add-on?

    • Saikat
      April 10, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      You can ask our wider community on Answers.

  11. mark
    February 24, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Is there a way to do the above email merge with adding attachments i.e. pdf file?

    • Saikat
      February 25, 2015 at 4:09 am

      You have the option to insert a file attachment, but the outgoing email will include just the file shortcut, not the file itself.

      An easier way could be to use Outlook Mail Merge Attachment. It's a free tool. Please note that I haven't tried this out myself.

      • Arpan Shah
        October 12, 2016 at 11:36 am

        Or you can use Saleshandy. Using SalesHandy you can send & track attachments in mail merge campaign.

  12. Shubham Negi
    December 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Is there any kind of limitation for sending mails with the help of the mail merge process through MICROSOFT OUTLOOK ..

  13. Lucy
    January 27, 2010 at 6:04 am


    I did the whole process fine until I got to the last 'ok' and I got an error message:

    ampi32.dll is an invalid Extended MAPI library

    ...and then...

    Mail is not installed on your system

    Do you know what these mean?

    Thank you!

    • Saikat
      January 28, 2010 at 4:53 am

      Which version of Outlook are you using? One solution could be to take the mapi32.dll file from another Outlook (someone else's) of the same version and copy it to your Office11 folder. See if it works...
      You can also try a download from here DLL Files

  14. Shibu P
    January 24, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I am currently looking out for a new job, what I do everyday in the morning is check out the newspapers, and collect the email address, and send out individual mails (the body is the same only the subject line and the address vary).
    Now my question is, Can i feed all the mail address to one execl sheet(or some other application) and then use gmail/hotmail/yahoo to send out personalized mails to each of the company.

  15. zahen
    December 24, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Saikat, this really helps!
    Outlook is still a cool email management/campaign software for sure, b/c of the ability to access all your email accounts at the same time. I find it very helpful.

  16. Saikat
    November 13, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    No, Jamie...I don't think you can do both.

  17. Jamie
    November 12, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I used this wizard in outlook to send personal invitations to a work event to company leaders. I would like to be able to also cc their administrative assistance.

    Is there a feature in the wizard that allows you to send a personalized email while also using a cc field?

  18. Dave
    October 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    This is an excellent tool/work around...., but is there a way to add an attachment???

    • Saikat
      October 23, 2009 at 11:10 pm

      Normally. no. But with a macro, yes. I have given the link below in an answer to munkypint'scomment.

  19. Dhanesh
    July 25, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Frankly speaking I do not have good knowledge of macros and totally blank on the Visual Basics (VBA).

    Guess, will have to use the personalize mail as a plain email only.

    Any way, thanks for your reply

  20. Saikat
    July 21, 2009 at 1:48 am

    To answer both your questions (or to confess inability), I couldn't find a solution to your query using the mail merge approach. Possibly, macros can do the job but that involves programming. Their is an addin called Mail Merge Toolkit which can handle the common CC part. But it's not free so I couldn't test it.

  21. Dhanesh
    July 15, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Truly useful article, thanks! for the knowledge.

    Can I also know information regarding how to add importance, request for read receipt and delivery receipt for this personalised mass email?

  22. Saikat
    July 12, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Try it out with this info given in the MS Knowledge Based. I haven't tried it out with so many recipents :)

  23. David
    July 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Hi, I recently got a job as a summer intern at a purchasing group and found this very useful for sending out emails to multiple vendors without showing the email of every vendor I send it to in the "To" field. Problem is, I have ~4500 vendors I need to send emails to and this method seems to require the recipients to be in your contacts. I've had to look up emails for many of these companies and the rest were in a database and I don't want to have to add all the companies as contacts.

    So my question is, is there another method of mass email where you don't need the recipients in your contacts while still only showing the email of the person who recieves it in the "To" field?

    • Chet
      January 24, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Do a web search for "import contacts to Outlook from Excel". I have the same problem and found some instructions on how to do it. I think you can easily set it up so that they end up on a different contact list than your standard contact list (coworkers, friends, etc.).

      Hope that helps.

  24. munkypint
    June 30, 2009 at 3:03 am

    I quite like doing it directly from world using and excel file and mail merging. This can be done with both outlook and Thinderbird. These need to be installed to be able to do it with Gmail. It would be awesome if google docs could be used with gmail to do the merge.

    Also does anyone know how to make attachements to the mass mail merge?


    • Saikat
      July 2, 2009 at 1:08 am

      Normally no. But this article helps - It's a bit complicated. You have to set up a macro.

  25. aneeskA
    June 29, 2009 at 12:04 am

    is there a way to do the same in Thunderbird?

    -- aneeskA

    • Aibek
      June 29, 2009 at 1:47 am
      • aneeskA
        June 30, 2009 at 11:27 pm

        Thanks mate .

        I am reading the post "How to Set Up Mozilla Thunderbird to Send Mass Emails"

    • Saikat
      June 29, 2009 at 5:06 am

      Yes, that's the one as Aibek says. In fact, a post on that should be out in a couple of days time. Watch out for it.

  26. Bluegravity
    June 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    i thought Outlook died quite long ago =P
    Well... nice article, but i would still prefer Gmail, creating mail merge was okay in 1990's. not anymore...

    • Saikat
      June 29, 2009 at 5:13 am

      Nopes...its still a very very popular application. Gmail and Outlook have different approaches to email management.Gmail is increasingly getting better but Microsoft is very much there too. A lot of people I know, use MS Outlook for business communication and Gmail for personal ones. It's good for us isn't it...with all the offline and online choices for email.