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Outlook: Mail merge

I have previously written about one of my many responsibilities; contacting users whose login credentials have shown up in breach lists. While the pertinent results of the breach files are delivered to me in a flat file, I use Excel’s Text to Columns feature to separate logins (usually email addresses) from the password. While this might take a little fiddling with the delimiters, it is worth it to ensure that you have a good basis on which to work.

Having separated the values into columns, I remove all users who are no longer with the company (and as a result are no longer reachable at the specified email address), before I save the Excel-file somewhere easily addressed in the next step.

I have a standard text that I send my users in these instances, which is stored as a Word document. I open this document, then go to the “Mailings” tab and select “Use an Existing List”:

Screenshot of Microsoft Word, showing the Select Recipients menu with three options; "Type a New List", "Use an Existing List", and "Choose from Outlook Contacts"

In the prompt that results, I navigate to the excel file, When asked to select the table, you need to uncheck the checkbox if you do not have column headers in the spreadsheet (although I strongly suggest that you do add column headers to the spreadsheet, as it will make the next step easier):

Screenshot of the Select Table menu

Next, we want to add fields to be merged, in this case for the email address and password. To do so, click “Insert Merge Field”, then select the pertinent column to be merged:

Screenshot form Outlook, showing the Insert Merge Field menu with two options, "Address" and "Password".

Here’s what the merged document looked like:

Example of merged document

At this point, go to “Finish & Merge”, then select Send Email Messages (if you want to check your work before sending it out, this is where you might benefit from taking Outlook Offline.

Screenshot of Outlook showing the Finish & Merge menu

Though there are a few hoops to jump here, the procedure itself is straightforward enough, and has saved me a lot of time over the years.

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