If you work in Microsoft Office and sometimes need to send out large, personalized mailings, you probably know that the basic package provides the essential means to achieve this task. The Mail Merge feature, introduced in Word 2002, has proven to be an invaluable tool for performing this type of business correspondence for a stupendous number of people.
If you send out massive staff notification mailings or business offers to your clients, if you manage a recruitment agency with a massive database, or even if you just find that personalized newsletters are a necessity – nothing else available in Office really comes close.
Mail Merge has the ability to produce a virtually infinite number of copies of the same text document with any given user-defined personal variables. For instance, if you intend to send basically the same document as an email message to a number of recipients but include the personal information such as first and last name, home and business addresses, etc., you can do it as professional and accurate as possible using Mail Merge’s personalization tools. These tools allow to keep both the anonymity of other recipients from each other, and to greet each one of them using their own names and titles in the message body.
This is scenario is done by conveniently placing the user-friendly macros beside the greeting lines and other critical points of the message during its composition in Word. Later, during the actual mail generation, Word accesses the designated contacts base – either the regular Outlook Contacts storage (thanks to the seamless integration between these Microsoft Office components) or an external data-source file (it could be any database-enabled file format – a Microsoft Access file or an Excel table, to name a few) and inserts the actual individual data of the recipient instead of the macro. As the result, each recipient will receive your intended message as if it were designed exclusively for him or her, with only their email address visible in the “TO:” field of the message and their own names and other individual data instead of the placeholders.
We at MAPILab have been working to improve the Mail Merge tool and its personalization possibilities even further, and are introducing the Mail Merge Toolkit: a feature-rich add-in (a software upgrade which uses Microsoft Office as the main platform, while only including the necessary software library files as an addition to the primary pool) that aims to extend the list of available features with its own unique mass mail personalization and productivity functions.
One of the most important and welcome additions has been the inclusion of the individual attachments in Mail Merge. Mail Merge with attachments opens even more possibilities to conduct business correspondence precisely and competently. The know-how is simple: to perform a mail merge with attachment, a file location is included beside the intended recipient in the data-source file, and after that – a special macro is specified within the extended Mail Merge finalization window’s “Attachment” field. A Mail Merge attachment will be sent and delivered to the unique recipient as seamlessly and conveniently as a regular file attached to an email message would. If there is no more than one unique recipient per attached file, you can even name your Mail Merge attachments according to the person who is going to receive it (multiple recipients who are going to receive the same file, or even split bunches of recipients and different bunch-dependent files are possible with the Mail Merge with attachments feature as well).
With the most recent version of the Mail Merge Toolkit add-in, you can also send your documents as .PDF attachments or as data in the message body during in your mailing.