TECH TALK SESSION
Senior Support Specialist Nick Armstrong went over mail merges in this week’s Tech Talk, which take place outside of Accudemia, particularly using data from Accudemia to perform a mail merge using your Microsoft Office suite of software. He also displayed the built-in report scheduler which in most cases is possibly a better alternative to a mail merge depending on your specific needs. Watch the full presentation here or read on for a summary of what Nick discussed!
If you’re unfamiliar, a mail merge allows you to easily and quickly reach out to multiple contacts at the same time using the same message but with custom information to the recipient. And instead of it looking like a group message it will appear to only be sent to them. Unlike simply pasting email addresses into the “To” field which will send the same message to everyone, with a mail merge, you can change certain components of the email for each recipient, such as the recipient’s name or other information about them directly.
To start a mail merge, you’ll need a CSV or XLS file with a list of the email addresses you want to submit the messages to, along with any other information that will go in the message fields. You’ll also need a Word document that has the message of the email you want to send, formatted in the way you’d like the recipients to see it.
You also have the option to attach a PDF to the email, which can come in handy if the purpose of the mail merge is to send a report from Accudemia. You’ll need the file path of the PDF in the CSV or Excel file and you’ll also need to download an add-in for Office from
Keep in mind that the mail merge will come from the default email address that you’ve set in Outlook. If you’re not sure what that is, check your Account Settings from the File menu in Outlook. You can change the default email temporarily if necessary and then switch back to your email after the mail merge completes. You’ll also want to make sure you run the process when your computer has time to process the number of emails, as it will need to be running while the emails go out. It can take a while to process all of the emails and can also take up a good chunk of your CPU’s capacity, so it’s good to run it during a time when you won’t be using your computer for much else, such as during a lunch break.
You can pull the data you need for your mail merge from many reports in Accudemia, such as the list of students who visited your center recently, or a list of students who have not visited your center. Once you have that Excel file from Accudemia, remove the top 3 rows until your column header row is the top one. Depending on the report and the needs of your email, you may not need to use every field in your email message. You may also need to modify some of the data in Excel, such as separating first and last names into separate columns.
To start a Mail Merge, open your Word document that will serve as your email template and go to the Mailings tab. Click, “Select Recipients” and then, “Use an Existing List.” Choose the Excel file that contains the contact and other information of your recipients. Once you do that and it connects to that file you’ll then be able to select, “Insert Merge Field,” which will show you all the columns in your spreadsheet that can be used as variable information fields in the document. Once your letter is set up with all the fields inserted that you want to use, you can click, “Preview Results” to see how the email will look for each recipient, and if everything looks good you can save the document.
Next, open Outlook, and in the Word document, select Finish & Merge > Send Email Messages. In the pop-up that appears, you’ll be able to select which field in the file should be used to pull the email address from and enter the text for the subject line. You’ll also want to specify the format of the email (HTML will be fine if you want the formatting to look as you have made it in Word) and you can choose if there are any rows in the Excel file that should be skipped. Once you hit, “Ok,” you’ll actually see Word move through each email as it sends them, and you’ll be able to check your Sent and Outbox folders in Outlook to confirm which emails have been sent, and which are in the queue to go out.
While the Mail Merge option has many uses, keep in mind that if your goal is to send out reports to stakeholders, we recommend using Accudemia’s report scheduler for that. The scheduler has many customizable options such as the frequency at which reports should be sent, the name of the job, and the recipients.
To schedule a report, go to the Reports section and choose the type of report you want to schedule. Choose your date range (such as the previous week) and any report filters such as Services or Locations. Choose the format such as Excel or PDF, and click, “Schedule Report.” Follow the prompts to choose your parameters for scheduling.
Accudemia will give you a preview of the next five sends should the report be scheduled so that you can make sure it will go out on the schedule you want. You’ll also see a summary of the report details before you schedule it. You can send the report to individuals or a group of recipients; as long as they are in Accudemia with an email address the system will send the report to them without you needing to pull their email addresses yourself.
In terms of which option is better, report scheduling in Accudemia is usually the quicker and easier option, especially when you have a report that will need to go out regularly. Mail merge can be useful if you only need to send a message once, need to customize the message that recipients see, or if your recipients are not stored in Accudemia and you don’t have a way of importing them yourself.
We hope you have found this article useful. Again, you can watch the full presentation with more details about both mail merges and scheduling reports here. Thanks for reading our blog and we hope you see you at the next Accudemia session!
Join us next time!
Engineerica Systems is pleased to present our Tech Tip segment recap for the Accudemia session on 11/8/2022. Held the second Tuesday of each month at 1 pm EST, Accudemia clients can join a session to learn about a quick, useful topic from one of our Support Specialists. Each week, we’ll follow up Tech Tip Tuesday with a blog recapping that week’s topic. If you’re an Accudemia client and would like to join us for the next session, just visit https://www.engineerica.com/accudemia-weekly-sessions/.