Send bulk personalized emails directly from Excel interface (mail merge without Word)

Today bulk emails are expected to be personalized by default. It goes for any email type – from corporate newsletters to mass marketing campaigns. For any method – from standard mail merge with MS Word to sophisticated SendGrid or Mailchimp. Often the only common thing is keeping a list or recipients in Excel. So, can you send bulk personalized emails without Word or additional software?

XLTools Mail Merge helps merge your email and your list of recipients in Excel and send bulk personalized emails directly from Excel interface:

  • Connect to your email account via SMTP: Gmail, Outlook, SendGrid, etc.
  • Add attachments of any file format from your computer
  • Use TXT or HTML email templates with any personalized fields

Before you begin, add Mail Merge to Excel

Mail Merge is one of the 20+ features within XLTools Add-in for Excel. Works in Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, desktop Office 365.

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– free trial gives you 14 days of full access to all features.

When the Mail Merge add-in is most useful

Say, your company plans to hold an event and you need to send out email invitations to some 50-60 partners. To avoid spammy look, you want each partner to receive a personalized email addressing them by name. Besides, you don't want to accidentally disclose contacts of all of your partners in the 'TO' field – so each email should be addressed only to one partner. XLTools Mail Merge helps you do exactly that, saving your hours of work.

  • Use this add-in, if you are used to keeping your contact lists in Excel. All is done directly in Excel interface – no need to switch back and forth between email, Excel, Word and attachment files.
  • Mail Merge for work emails: send out invitations to partners, invoice reminders to clients, presentations to colleagues, progress reports to students, etc.
  • Mail Merge for private emails: send a travel itinerary to friends and family, an agenda to parent committee members, etc.

Note, that XLTools Mail Merge is not a email service provider – it's an Excel productivity add-in. While XLTools does not set a sending limit, your email provider most certainly does, as well as violation penalties.

If you plan to send bulk marketing emails – for example, newsletters to subscribers, special offers to customers, etc. – we recommend you use a specialized service like SendGrid, MailChimp, or another.

How does mail merge in Excel work

XLTools Mail Merge add-in is NOT an email service provider. It is an Excel productivity add-in that simplifies sending bulk personalized emails – with very little setup time:

  1. Connect Mail Merge to your email account.
  2. Create a list of recipients in an Excel table.
  3. Create an email template, add placeholders for personalized data.
  4. Click Send – and send out bulk personalized emails without leaving Excel interface!
Note: the Mail Merge add-in cannot in any way effect spam filters of any email. Ultimately, you сan not predict whether your recipient's mailbox labels (or not) your email as spam. Each email provider has its own spam filtering algorithms.

How to connect Mail Merge in Excel to your email account

Connect Mail Merge in Excel to your email account via SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol for email transmission).

Important: we cannot guarantee that the Mail Merge tool will work (or will keep working in the future) with your particular email account. Mail Merge can potentially connect to almost any email account: private or corporate Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Yandex, etc. However, due to strengthening privacy and security requirements, the global email standards are evolving, and email providers change their protocols towards third-party SMTP connections. If your bulk emails are mission-critical, we recommend you use a specialized service: SendGrid, MailChimp, or another.

Click the Settings button on the XLTools tab Open Mail Merge (SMTP) tab.

  • "Sender email" – your email address, which will be used for sending bulk emails.


  • "SMPT Server" and "Port" populate automatically; otherwise contact your system administrator.

  • "From Name" – your name, or company name, or any other name as you want it to display in recipients' mailboxes.

    E.g. "XYZ Seminars".

  • "User Name" and "Password" – connect to your email account.

  • Check the box Use SSL/TLS if necessary. Cryptographic protocols SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) create a secure link between your email server and your computer.

To test the connection with this email account, click the Send Test Email… button. A test message will be sent immediately.

Set SMTP settings and connect Mail Merge to your email account

How to create a list of recipients in Excel

Excel table is a convenient way to store your contacts. Each row of the table stands for one recipient. Each column represents a personalized field, such as Email, Title, First Name, etc. This Excel table serves as a data source for the Mail Merge add-in. Data in these personalized fields will later replace the respective placeholders in your generic email template.

To create a list of recipients from scratch:

  1. Click the Create Mailing List button on XLTools tab.
  2. Check boxes for columns you want to create, e.g. First Name, Last Name.
    Note: 'Email' column is included by default.
  3. Check Attachment boxes, if you want to attach files.
  4. Choose whether to place the mailing list on a new or an existing worksheet.
  5. Click Create Done.
  6. Fill the table with your data. If necessary, manually add more columns for other personalized fields, e.g. RegID. The number of columns is not limited.
Create the Mailing List in Excel: the table of recipients for Mail Merge

To use your existing contact list:

  1. Open your contact list in Excel.

  2. Format the list as a table:

    Select the range Click Format as a Table on the Home tab Apply any suitable table style.

  3. Name the columns, e.g. Email, First Name, Last Name, RegID, Attachment, etc.

Edit Mail Merge list in Excel: add personalized fields for bulk emails

How to attach files to messages in bulk email

You can send 1 or 2 files to each recipient of your bulk email. You can attach any file format: PDF, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, JPEG, etc. Consider the attachment size limitations set by your email provider. Normally, the size of messages with attachments cannot exceed 10-20 MB.

  1. Open your recipients list.

  2. Add a column to hold attachments:

    • To send one file:

      Add one column, e.g. "Attachment 1".

    • To send two files:

      Add two columns, e.g. "Attachment 1" and "Attachment 2".

  3. Specify the file path on your computer, e.g. C:\Documents\Seminar-Agenda.pdf.

    • To send one and the same file to all recipients:

      Copy the file path into all cells in the attachments column.

    • To send different files to different recipients:

      Specify file paths for each recipient individually.

    • To send no attachments to some recipients:

      Leave the respective cells blank.

The specified files will be attached to messages in your bulk email. Next, proceed to creating an email template.

How to create a template message and send personalized emails

Email template is a generic impersonal email message. Utilization of placeholders in a template allows you to automatically personalize each message: the Mail Merge add-in will pull data from your Excel contact list and replace these placeholders with specific data for each recipient. E.g. it will replace a generic placeholder [Name] with the actual name of the recipient "John".

  1. Click the Send Emails button on XLTools tab A dialogue box will appear.

  2. Specify the range of your mailing list including headers.

  3. Verify the column, which contains recipients' email addresses:

    E.g. select the Email field.

  4. Verify columns, which contain paths to attachment files:

    E.g. select the Attachment 1 and Attachment 2 fields.

  5. Type the Email Subject as you want it to display in recipients’ mailboxes:

    E.g. type "Seminar Participation Confirmation".

  6. Enter your message in the editor:

    • Type a message. If necessary, you can use a set of text formatting tools: font, color, alignment, insert link, insert image, etc.
    • Or, click the Load HTML from File button, if you want to use your existing HTML template.
  7. Choose from available placeholders and insert them in square brackets:

    E.g. [First Name], [RegID].

Unpivot crosstab table in Excel: keep cell format
Note: after you click Send and until all emails are sent, it is impossible to make changes to your recipients list or your email template.

We recommend testing your template first. E.g. create an test list of recipients which includes only your own email addresses – and send the email to yourself. Check that all placeholders are replaced with personalized data properly, check for errors or typos in the email subject and message. Make sure your email has a professional look.

Once you click Send, XLTools Mail Merge will immediately start sending bulk personalized emails:

  • Messages are sent one after another, directly from Excel interface.
  • Email status (either "Sent", or an error indication) will appear in the last column of your mailing list.
  • Find sent messages in your "Outgoing" or "Sent" emails.
Note: email delivery status is not tracked.
Click Send and send bulk personalised emails directly from Excel interface

How does the email sent with Mail Merge look in a recipient's mailbox

  • Each person in your Excel mailing list receives a personalized email.
  • Each message is sent individually – a recipient will not see other emails of other recipients.
  • All placeholders are accurately replaced with data for each specific recipient.
  • Specified files are automatically attached to the email.
The view of an email sent with XLTools Mail Merge in a recipient's mailbox
XLTools Mail Merge settings VS an email in recipient's mailbox

What is the sending limit of XLTools Mail Merge

XLTools Mail Merge is not a email service provider and does not limit the number of sent email messages. Bulk emails are sent from your email account.

Note: each email provider has own policies on outgoing email quotas, attachment size and mailbox size. Exceeding the sending limit may lead to lockdown, blacklisting, additional costs or other penalties. Please contact your email provider to find out your SMTP email sending limit.
  • Free email accounts are intended for private communications and are not built for mass emails. E.g., Gmail and Hotmail have about 50-100 messages/day limit.
  • Corporate email or your own SMTP-servers permit much higher number of outgoing email.
  • Specialized mass email services, e.g. SendGrid or MailChimp, offer thousands messages per month depending on a subscription plan.
Any questions or suggestions?
Nagashree hello, Can we send email from generic email id to diffrent vendors??
July 1, 2019 at 12:09
Maria BalobanovaHi Nagashree, Yes, you can, if by generic email you mean an email address that can be used by multiple members (for example: info@, support@, etc.). You can connect to this generic email account using the Mail Merge feature via SMTP. Once you connect, send the emails to your vendors. Keep in mind not to exceed the limitation of your account on the number of outgoing bulk email.
July 1, 2019 at 17:41
Kumaran RamadassGreetings, When I try to send mail, I get a message saying I'm about to send 0 mail. I have added the email address in email column but still get such error message. Kindly advice.
November 15, 2018 at 14:22
Maria BalobanovaHi Kumaran, we'll need to see the screenshots and your mailing settings to find out what causes the error. I have sent you an email.
November 15, 2018 at 14:34
Kit May i know your software can support add different password to the attachment?
March 22, 2018 at 10:35
Maria Balobanova

Hello Kit,

You can send different attachment to different emails - just specify the path the the files. If you attach a password protected document, the recipient of the email will need to know the password to open the file. But you cannot set or change passwords to the attachments with Mail Merge - you have to set protection to the files separately.

March 22, 2018 at 14:15
ChrisHi, Is it possible to have a one-to-many mail merge e.g. to send values from multiple rows in one mail if the email address is the same. I ma looking to send data for multiple employees to one manager so if: employee 1 data1 data2 employee2 data1 data2 employee3 data1 data2 manager1 gets a one mail with data for 2 employees manager2 gets 1 mail for 1 employee is this possible?
August 4, 2016 at 19:41
Maria BalobanovaHello Chris, Yes, you can do that. But note, that manager1 will get two emails: for employee1 and employee2. I have emailed you the details.
August 4, 2016 at 20:26
BradI'd like to know how to do this as well
March 15, 2017 at 00:18
Peter LiapinHello Claudio, Sorry for the delay with the answer. Yes, it will be possible in the new version of XLTools which we are going to release really soon.
March 13, 2015 at 21:14
ClaudioGood afternoon and congratulations for the free application that works perfectly. I would be interested in the mail merge and I wonder if it is possible to insert an attachment to the email. Thanks and regards
January 4, 2015 at 21:54
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