Sunday, October 10, 2010

Email Merge thru Thunderbird

This is a tutorial to use the email merge thru Thunderbird 3.1.4 or later (Can be found here ). I have also used the add-on called 'MailMerge'.

First install the latest ver of Thunderbird & configure the email a/c. (I have not included the instructions here). Then install the add-on found here ->

'MailMerge' is a Thunderbird extension designed by Alexander Bergmann. The Mail Merge extension is compatible with the latest Thunderbird 3.0.* releases, and is cross-platform. It supports two features, dubbed Mass Mail and Personal Mail.

'Mass Mail' allows you to create a draft email, put your intended recipients in the To:, CC:, and BCC: fields, then automatically split the draft into a set of identical copies with one addressed to each recipient. This is all done without special preparation beforehand; the extension adds a button labeled Mass Mail to the toolbar; you compose your mail as usual, then click on Mass Mail to perform the split.

The 'Personal Mail' feature is far more like a traditional paper mail-merge. You create a message template, with control codes in place of the fields you wish to include, then link the template to a comma-separated-value file (CSV) populated with your intended recipients. The control characters use double braces, and you can define any fields you want — just place their field names in the first line of the CSV. You will probably only use the recipient’s name and email address, so your template might just include {{name}} and {{email_address}}, but you could include other information from your address book in the body of the message if you need to.

Close Thunderbird for now.

Now lets get down to preparing the database containing the fields that you will use in the email that is going to be sent to 'X' number of people. As you will see in the fig. Below I have made columns with the title

'Salutations' which will contain 'Dear', 'Mr', 'Ms', 'Maam', 'Pachi' etc

'Fname' will contain the First Name of the recipient.

'Lname' will contain the Last Name of the recipient.

'EmailID' will contain the Email ID of the recipient.

After giving the column headings save the file as a .CSV file (Comma Seperated Values). Now fill in the details of all the recipients. This file can be opened in Microsoft Office or in OpenOffice. You can add other details if required taking care to give a column name which is indicative of its contents.

Now open Thunderbird click on 'Write' as seen below

In this window as seen below I have specified the column headings enclosed in double braces. For the recipients its {{EmailID}}. ie: In the 'To' type {{EmailID}}When the email is sent the email ids from this column in your database will occupy this space & that is what the recipients will see at his end.

Now you can type out the contents of the email & can be addressed as seen in the figure below, ofcourse you can format it in anyway. Some examples are

Eg 1:


Dear {{Fname}} {{Salutations}} which will appear as


Dear Shailesh Maam to the recipient

Eg 2:


Dear {{Fname}} {{Lname}} which will appear as


Dear Shailesh Parab to the recipient

You can try out any permutation and combination but remember that if you have a column in your database, you can place its contents in your email at a location of your choice.

Now to send the email click on 'File' in the Menu bar (seen below) & then click on 'Personal Mail'

you will get a window which looks like this (see below)

In this window you will have to click on 'Browse' push button to select the file which contains your database. If your database is small then leave other entries as you see them & then click on 'Ok'. But if your database is large I would suggest that you specify the 'Start' & 'Stop' containing the record numbers to limit the output of emails being sent at any given time.

One drawback of this add on, ver 1.3.1 working with Thunderbird ver 3.1.4, is it does not allow embedded pictures to be transmitted. Hopefully this will be rectified in future versions.


Anonymous said...

Thanks a ton for this tut. Will be using this to send customised email greetings this festive season

Anonymous said...

Good one bro. Just what I needed