How To Do Mail Merge in Outlook

Did you know you can do mail merge in Outlook?

Mail Merge is an amazing way to send personalized email messages to a large number of people, at once, without including them in bcc list of your email. It’s a great way to send to reach out to your prospects as well as customers with promotional emails, discount offers, product updates and even new product launches. Did you know that you can do mail merge in Outlook? Let’s take a look at how to send bulk email from outlook using excel.


How to do Mail Merge in Outlook?

There are 3 parts to using Outlook for Mail Merge – create the recipient list, create email message and finally send the email message. Let’s look at each aspect in detail. Before we begin, ensure that you have Microsoft Office installed on your laptop. We’ll need to use Microsoft Excel, Word as well as Outlook to create mail merge.


Create Email Recipient List

You can use an excel spreadsheet or access database to create a list of recipients. For our example, we’ll use Excel.

  1. Create an excel spreadsheet to store recipients’ details. The first row should contain column headers such as first name, last name & email address
  2. Each row should have exactly 1 recipient’s details
  3. Ensure that the column for email address has only email, without names, brackets, quotes or any other special characters.
  4. Here’s an example of recipient list with column headers[table id=3 /]


Create Email message

  1. Open Microsoft Word and create a new blank document.
  2. Click Mailings Ribbon
  3. Click Start Mail Merge menu and click E-Mail messages option.
  4. Next, click Select Recipients menu and choose Use Existing List option.
  5. This will open a ‘Open file’ dialog that you can use to navigate to your excel spreadsheet. Select it and click open.
  6. This will open a Select Table window where you need to select the sheet which contains the table of recipient details.
    • You’ll see a dropdown to select the sheet (sheet 1, sheet 2, etc) containing recipient list
    • If the 1st column of your spreadsheet contains column headers, then check the option for “First row of data contains column headers”
    • Click Ok
  7. Next compose your email in Word itself.
    • You can click Home ribbon if you want add formatting such as bold, italics, colors, headings and underline.
    • Please note, only outlook users will be able to see all the formatting. Other web mail users will only be able to see lists, bold and italics.
  8. If you want to personalize your email message using details from your spreadsheet,
    • Click the cursor where you want to insert recipient-specific data (e.g first name)
    • Click Mailings Ribbon
    • Click Insert Merge Field. You’ll see a window with a drop down containing the fields you’ve created in your excel spreadsheet. Select the required field you want to insert.
  9. Save the word document, in order to save the mail merge configuration as well as your composed email message


Send Email Message

Let’s look at how to send email messages in mail merge. Open your word document if it’s not open already.

  1. Click Mailings Ribbon
  2. Click Finish & Merge menu and then select Send E-Mail Messages option.
  3. You’ll see a Merge to E-mail window where you can configure the rest of the email message settings such as to, subject, etc.
    mail merge send window
  4. To begin with, in the To dropdown menu, select the field containing email address of the recipients
  5. Next, in the Subject Line text box, type in the subject line for your email message
  6. In the Mail Format dropdown, select HTML option
  7. Next, select All option in the Send records radio button.
  8. Finally, click Ok to send your email messages. Before clicking Ok, please review all the details about your email such as subject line, email body and recipient column


Pro Tips for Mail Merge in Outlook

  1. If you have customized your email message body using field names from your excel spreadsheet, then you can preview how your actual email would look like for each recipient by clicking Preview Results button in Mailings ribbon. You can click the arrows present on the right of ‘Preview Results’ button to navigate emails for each recipient.
  2. If you want to customize your email message, it’s always advisable to split the recipient information into different columns, instead of keeping them in one column. For example, you can keep first name & last name in separate columns, and join them in your email message. On the other hand, if you use one column for full name, then it’s difficult to separate first name & last name in your email
  3. If you’re using Outlook for mail merge with attachment such as Infographics or PDFs, instead you can publish them on your website and simply send its link in your email message. This will help you track how many people have downloaded your document.
  4. You can also add yourself as the 1st recipient of your bulk mail blast in your excel spreadsheet, so you can test if your email is delivered properly. You can also use Preview Results to see what your email looks like. Before you send email to your list of recipients, you can send a mail to yourself. To do this, follow the steps to send email message mentioned above, except that in Step 6, for Send records option, select Current instead of selecting ‘All’. This will send the email message that you are currently previewing.


You can also read how to create email templates in Outlook. We also have great examples of free email newsletter templates, welcome email, follow up emails, sales emails, and cold emails. You can also check out our list of Best Email Marketing Examples and Top Email marketing Strategies that you can use for your business.



As you can see, it’s easy to do mail merge in Outlook. The key is to carefully create the excel spreadsheet with proper recipient details. Ensure that your email column has only emails and nothing else. Use several columns to store recipient details such as first name, last name, etc so you can easily customize your emails. Also, you should always preview your emails before sending them, and even send yourself a test email to ensure that it’s not being flagged as spam.


Do you have any tips to use Outlook for mail merge?


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