Mail merge combines a document with a data file to send personalized messages to different people at once. The data file may include names, addresses, or other information for several receivers.
If you want to avoid taking too much time writing the same email for many people, you can set up a mail merge.
This article explains how you can set it up in Microsoft Outlook. In general, you use MS Outlook, MS Word, and other programs that store structured data.
Setting up Mail Merge
The most convenient method of setting up a mail merge is through Word. You can get the mailing addresses from Outlook or enter them into a list for this process.
You can find the step-by-step procedure for this method in this guide.
Compose your Email
The first task is to compose the mail you want. You can directly type the message in a word document. The initial step is also to start the mail merge. Follow the steps below:
- Open MS Word on your PC. Type the body of the email message in the blank document.
- You can leave placeholders for parts you would like to personalize in the message. You can add them later.
- Save the file to your local drive.
- Click on the Mailings tab from the ribbon.
- Click Start Mail Merge and select Email Messages.
Create a Mailing List
Skip this step if you have a contact list you can use in Outlook. Word allows you to create a new list or use an existing list. This list can be an excel spreadsheet, a database, or any document with structured entries.
Here, we will list out steps to create an excel spreadsheet for the list.
- Open a blank workbook in MS Excel.
- Add separate columns with headers and contents for data you want to personalize. Don’t forget to add Email as a field.
- Enter the data for the fields.
- Also, make sure to use only one sheet for the entries.
- Save the spreadsheet as a new file.
Select Recipients for your Email
It is the step where you link the mail merge with its receivers. There are three options to choose from. You can create a new list, use an existing one, or pick from outlook contacts.
If you have an Outlook contact list of the recipients, follow the instructions below:
- Go to the Word document with the message body.
- Click on Select Recipients from the Mailings tab. Then select Choose from Outlook Contacts. Choose a Profile Name if you have to and hit Ok.
- Log in to your account if prompted.
- You may have many contact lists. Select the one you want and click Ok.
- Use each checkbox from the new window to choose the recipients for your mailing list. Then select Ok.
In case you want to create a new list, follow these directions:
- Click on Select Recipients from the Mailings tab. Then select Type a New List.
- First, click on Customize Columns. Only set the field names you want by using Add, Delete, and Rename buttons. Then click on Ok.
- Enter the data you need. Use New Entry and Delete Entry buttons to manipulate the entries. Then hit Ok.
If you have created a list using a different source, follow the steps below to select from the list:
- Click on Select Recipients from the Mailings tab. Then select Use an Existing List.
- Navigate to the location you saved your list. Then open it.
- Select the sheet containing the list and choose Ok. You should only have one option if you have been following this guide. Make sure the First row of data contains column headers option is checked.
You can check and edit your list by selecting Edit Recipient List from the Start Mail Merge group.
Insert Mail Merge Fields
In this step, you can fill the placeholders you have used in the message. You can also add personalized greeting. To do so, follow the instructions below:
- Select a placeholder in your message, then click on Insert Merge Field. It is present in the Write & Insert Fields group.
- Choose the matching field and select Insert.
- You can’t change the insertion point in your document. You have to select the placeholder and individually insert the merge field for each one.
- Follow these steps for all the placeholders.
- If you don’t have a greeting line in your message, you may want to add one. Click on Greeting Line. In the new window, format the options according to your need and select Ok.
Before sending an email, it is essential to preview it to check for inaccuracies. Here’s how you can preview your mail merge:
- Click on Preview Results from the Mailings tab.
- Now you can see an example of how the mail would look to a recipient.
- The format of values may not be what you require. For instance, currency value can appear as a whole number.
- In this case, press Alt + F9. Some may need to press Alt + Fn + F9. Now, you can see the field codes for the Merge Fields.
- You need to edit the field code. Different types of values have varying codes. You can search for their syntax on the internet.
- For example, you need to add \# $,0.00 in the code to change to currency value.
- Press Alt + F9 again and click on Preview Results to see the changes.
Finish and Save
The final step is to finish up, enter the subject line and send the email. You can also mail merge to another document or print the message document if you need. To finish up, follow these instructions:
- Click on Finish & Merge from the Mailings tab.
- You can select Edit Individual Documents to preview all documents and edit them. You don’t need to do so if you don’t want any changes.
- After making the changes, close the new window. Choose Save to apply the modifications.
- Click on Finish & Merge again. This time, select Send Email Messages.
- Type in the subject for your email in the subject line. Click on Ok to send the emails.
- If you have to send emails to a large number of receivers, it is better to send to fewer recipients at a time. You can do it with the From ___ To ___ option in the Finish & Merge window.
- It is a good idea to save the Word file for future use. This document retains the connection to the source file for the mailing list.
Also take a look at our article on how to send a secure email in outlook.
Why I Ditched Microsoft Excel for Google Sheets (And Why You Should Too!)
Hey there, fellow spreadsheet enthusiasts! Today, I want to share my journey from being a die-hard Microsoft Excel fan to becoming a Google Sheets official nerd. Believe me, it wasn’t an easy decision, but after experiencing the wonders of Google Sheets, there’s no turning back.
I’ve done so many other tech reviews, it just felt right to do one on Microsoft Excel vs. Google Sheets. So, grab your virtual seat, and let’s dive into why you need to stop using Microsoft Excel and start embracing the awesomeness of Google Sheets.
Excel, We Had a Good Run…
I’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with Microsoft Excel. We’ve tackled countless budgets, analyzed heaps of data, and even played the occasional game of spreadsheet Sudoku (admit it, we’ve all been there). But as the years rolled on, it became evident that Excel had its limitations, and it was time for a change.
The Love-Hate Relationship with Excel
Don’t get me wrong; Excel is a powerhouse when it comes to crunching numbers and performing basic calculations. It’s like that trusty old calculator you had in high school. However, when things get complex, Excel can feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded – frustrating and time-consuming.
Why I Fell Out of Love with Excel:
- Collaboration Nightmares: Ever tried collaborating with multiple people on an Excel file? It’s like trying to play a symphony with a broken piano. Google Sheets, on the other hand, offers real-time collaboration. It’s like having a jam session where everyone is in sync.
- Formula Frustration: Excel’s formulas are like a secret society’s code. Nested IF statements? Array formulas? It’s a maze. Google Sheets simplifies this with a user-friendly formula bar that guides you, making complex calculations less intimidating.
- Data Size Drama: Excel has its limits, and sooner or later, you’ll bump into them. Large datasets can bring Excel to its knees. Google Sheets handles big data gracefully, giving you the freedom to analyze without constraints.
- Dated Data Visualization: Creating charts and graphs in Excel is like painting with finger paints. Google Sheets offers sleek, modern data visualization options that can turn your data into works of art.
- Mobile Accessibility: In a world where we’re always on the move, Excel’s mobile app falls short. Google Sheets’ mobile app is user-friendly and lets you access your spreadsheets from anywhere, anytime.
- Automatic Backup: Excel doesn’t automatically save your work, and one wrong click can erase hours of effort. Google Sheets automatically saves your changes, so you can breathe easy knowing your work is secure.
- Free or Affordable: Let’s talk money. Excel can be pricey, especially if you need advanced features. Google Sheets offers a free version and affordable subscription options that won’t break the bank.
- Data Security: Sharing sensitive information via Excel can be risky. Google Sheets provides secure, permission-based sharing, ensuring your data stays safe and sound.
Why I Fell in Love with Google Sheets:
Now that you know why I had to part ways with Excel, let me tell you why Google Sheets became my new spreadsheet crush:
- Seamless Collaboration: Real-time collaboration is a game-changer. With Google Sheets, my team and I can work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously, leaving version control issues in the past.
- User-Friendly Formulas: Google Sheets’ formula bar guides you through creating complex formulas, making even the trickiest calculations manageable.
- Data Freedom: The freedom to work with large datasets without worry is liberating. No more hitting Excel’s limits and sacrificing data.
- Modern Data Visualization: Visualizing data has never been easier. Google Sheets offers sleek chart options that help convey insights effectively.
- Mobile Magic: Google Sheets’ mobile app keeps me productive on the go. I can access and edit my spreadsheets from my smartphone or tablet without a hitch.
- Automatic Peace of Mind: Knowing that Google Sheets saves my work automatically is a weight off my shoulders. No more “did I save that?” moments.
- Budget-Friendly: Google Sheets’ free version has impressive features, and their paid plans are affordable, making it accessible to all budgets.
- Top-Notch Security: Secure sharing options ensure my data remains confidential, granting access only to those who need it.
Breaking up with Microsoft Excel wasn’t easy, but transitioning to Google Sheets was one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s more than just a spreadsheet tool; it’s a game-changer for productivity, collaboration, and data analysis. So, my fellow spreadsheet fanatics, it’s time to make the switch. Embrace the future with Google Sheets, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Trust me; your spreadsheets will thank you!
How safe is my data after a hack or leak?
The UK’s elections watchdog revealed on Tuesday it had been the victim of a “complex cyber-attack” potentially affecting millions of voters.
It also emerged personal details of police officers in Northern Ireland were published accidentally.
But what can you do if you are concerned your data may have been leaked, and how can you prevent issues?
How safe is my data?
Generally, when public organisations such as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) respond to Freedom of Information requests they should remove any identifying data.
But in this case the force published confidential details by accident, leaving some officers and their families with concerns about their safety.
However, an average person affected by a data leak or hack should not panic.
Regarding the cyber-attack affecting UK voters, the Electoral Commission has apologised to those affected but says on its website the data it holds is “limited, and much of it is already in the public domain”.
“According to the risk assessment used by the Information Commissioner’s Office [the data regulator] to assess the harm of data breaches, the personal data held on electoral registers, typically name and address, does not in itself present a high risk to individuals,” it says.
This information could be combined with other bits of data about you, such as what you share on social media, to identify you – but this takes a lot of time and cyber criminals will generally only target prominent individuals like this.
And unless you have opted out of being named on the open electoral register, much of this information will already be publicly available online.
If you are concerned about a different data breach, and are worried your information may have been lost, there are also websites which will tell you if your email was part of a known data breach.
The Electoral Commission specifically recommends people use the free online service Have I Been Pwned (sic) to check this.
What can I do to keep my data safe?
If you believe your password to an account may have been compromised, it makes sense to change it.
But you should be mindful not to respond to any emails recommending this, as they could be attempting to scam you – instead you should visit the website as normal, and change your password there.
This is also why it is important to have different passwords for different accounts.
By always keeping different log-in credentials, a future hack is less likely to affect you seriously as the hackers will not be able to use your data beyond accessing a single service you used.
Another thing people can do is to remain vigilant online to avoid any data loss.
Recent research from Barclays released on Wednesday shows that 87% of all scams take place on tech platforms, such as dating apps, social media and online marketplaces.
It says these scams are on the rise, and it wants tech platforms to shoulder some of the liability.
“Without the joint help of tech organisations, the Government, and regulators, we risk enabling the unchecked growth of what is now the most common crime in the UK, hurting countless individuals, and costing our economy billions each year,” says Barclays CEO Matt Hammerstein.
“Our data shows that tech platforms – particularly social media – are now the source of almost all scams. However, there is no current legislative or regulatory framework obliging the tech sector to support the prevention of these crimes, as there rightly is for banks.”
But there are a few simple steps you can take to stay safe online, which can help protect your data – and your wallet.
These include using a strong password for each site you visit, avoiding emails from people you do not know, and being careful when visiting unfamiliar websites.
The Rising Importance of Managed IT Services with Proficiency in Apple Devices for Today’s Business Landscape
In the rapidly evolving world of business technology, there’s an undeniably prominent shift toward Apple devices. Their sleek designs, unparalleled security features, and user-friendly interfaces have made them a favored choice among business professionals. Yet, the challenge remains: how do businesses ensure they’re tapping into the full potential of these devices while ensuring security, efficiency, and smooth integration into existing systems? Enter managed IT services companies, particularly those that are Apple aficionados.
If you’re a business owner or decision-maker, you’ve likely encountered the classic dilemma: hiring in-house IT specialists or outsourcing. With the increasing reliance on Apple devices in modern businesses, it’s not just about finding IT support but the right IT support.
Apple’s ecosystem is unique. It’s not merely about devices but also the secure, interconnected universe they create. An iPhone syncs seamlessly with a MacBook or an iPad, leading to an integrated working experience. However, with this high level of sophistication comes the necessity for specialized knowledge.
“You wouldn’t hire a general handyman to fix a specific issue with your car. Similarly, hiring general IT support might not do the trick for businesses that rely on Apple devices. They need specialists,” points out Aaron Kane of Machero in Chicago.
The Perks of Outsourcing to Apple-Savvy Managed IT Services
The advantage of partnering with a managed IT service familiar with Apple’s world is multi-fold. They bring a deep understanding of Apple’s operating systems, know the best practices for integration, and can troubleshoot issues specific to Apple products. This expertise is often hard to find in generic IT teams.
Furthermore, such companies can help businesses deploy Apple devices in a way that they’re used to their maximum potential. They understand the nuances of iOS, macOS, and other Apple-specific software and can guide businesses in deploying tools and applications best suited to their needs.
Ed Anderson of Dyrand Systems in Vancouver (Visit their website) echoes this sentiment. “Modern business operations demand agility. And in a landscape dominated by Apple devices, you need IT support that speaks Apple’s language fluently. Outsourcing to managed IT services that are Apple specialists is more than a trend; it’s a strategic move.”
The Security Element
Security is one of Apple’s hallmarks. Yet, the best hardware and software security features can be undermined if not handled appropriately. Regular updates, patches, and knowledge of potential threats specific to Apple’s ecosystem are crucial.
Jorge Rojas with Tektonic Managed Services emphasizes the security component. “When we talk about Apple devices, we’re looking at a different kind of architecture, both in hardware and software. The threats these devices face, while fewer than others, are unique. A managed IT service team that is well-versed in Apple’s realm is your best bet against potential cyber threats.”
Today’s business world isn’t just about adopting the best technology and understanding and integrating it seamlessly into one’s operations. With their growing popularity in the corporate world, Apple devices come with their own demands and intricacies. While these devices offer many advantages, leveraging them requires specific skills and expertise.
The choice is clear for businesses keen on not just surviving but thriving in today’s tech-centric environment. Partner with a managed IT service that knows Apple inside out. It’s an investment that promises smooth operations and a competitive edge in a landscape where technology is the game-changer.
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