Question: I have an Excel spreadsheet with data I would like to merge to Outlook. I need to include a survey as an attachment with their specified information and have them return it to me. I only want it to go to names that are highlighted in my spreadsheet. There will be over 300 names.
Answer: Oh, I love these challenges. First, in order to be able to identify the names to select from Excel, there has to be something consistent about how they are entered, such as a field with specific criteria. However you are not able to filter based on highlight or color. So in looking at the data, the records had a 1 in one column or another column. This is going to work!! If you don’t have any consistent criteria, you may want to add a field/column with an X in the cells you wish to send (or not send to).
Next, we did a “test” run with sample names/email addresses that we can check to verify it works. You want to do this because it is rather embarrassing if something doesn’t work, and you accidentally send 300 incorrect emails out.
Then we went through the mail merge steps. If you have your document already created, open that file. Then to create the merge, from the ribbon select Mailings > Start Mail Merge > Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard. A task pane appears on the right of your Word screen. I prefer the wizard because it takes you step by step so that you don’t forget anything. Follow the steps on each screen and click next:
- First, select “Email” as your document type and Next, select “Use the current document.”
- Next, select recipients by browsing for your Excel spreadsheet as your data source (You should close the Excel file if it is open). You may edit the names individually, if there are just a few, or click Filter to identify the fields and values you are looking for and use the and/or options appropriately by adding additional rows to your filter criteria.
- Next, add the fields from the excel file you want to include in your email/letter to personalize it by clicking on More Items (or Insert Merge Field from the Ribbon).
- Next, preview the emails (use the arrows next to recipient to verify the information looks correct). Again, initially I would test just a couple of sample names from the file that you can verify they were sent/received.
- Once you feel confident the information is merged correctly, you can click Next, Complete the Merge and click Electronic Mail.
- Add the field with the email address to the To section, include a subject line, and select Attachment from Mail Format (You may find people read emails more than they would open attachments and if you’re sending out 300, attachments will take more space, adding to your email size). In that case, I would suggest using HTML, as it seems easier and faster. Once you click OK, the emails will go and you cannot stop the process.
- Check your sent folder to see if the mail was sent. Then check your test recipient to see if it was received. If you have about 300 recipients in your file, then you have 300 messages in your sent folder.
- Rather than deleting all of these emails immediately from your Sent folder, you may want to use Adobe Acrobat to convert these messages to a PDF file and save onto your computer if you need to refer to these later as proof they were sent. Then you can delete those messages from the sent folder to free up space in your mail database.
If you have additional questions on Merges to Outlook, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Question: I have started using Office 2013 and noticed many differences between Office 2013 and Office 2010, particularly with Outlook and Calendar. Are you aware of any summaries describing the differences?
Answer: The differences don’t seem to be extensive, but there are some changes. In particular, you now have the ability to save directly to the cloud (although Office 365 has limited features compared to 2013). There are some really nice new features with Excel such as flash fill and quick analysis too. This handout provides some excellent video tutorials on the new features and “how tos” of Office 2013. The videos range from very short 1-2 minute clips to longer clips. We are also scheduling some video tutorial sessions in November and December on the new features. See the schedule of sessions here.
Question: I have an Excel file I filtered and then copied “visible cells only” to a new worksheet, so that I could maintain formulas. However, the smaller file size increases to an enormous file size, making it very slow for working with and impossible to email. What is causing this?
Answer: It appears that when you copy visible cells to a new worksheet that it pasted in the blank columns and rows also. You can tell this by noticing the scroll box along the vertical scroll bar remains at the top while scrolling down. You can also click in cell A1 and press Ctrl+Shift+End to go to the last cell of the active worksheet.
Select and delete the columns to the right of your data, and select and delete the rows below your data, and then save your file and close. You should notice the file size decreases to about what it was before. I still am at a loss as to why this happens, but have run into similar questions from users recently about data ranges including blank rows and columns. Here is a link which also includes an add-in you can download to remove excess rows and columns also. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244435
Question: I created contact groups some time ago with around 100 names each, since Outlook won’t allow personal group with 300 names (1A, 1B, 1C) I keep the master list in Excel but it has been quite a long time since I updated the groups, and I can’t remember how I can get them updated.
Answer: The easiest way to do this is to have your Excel list open, along with your Outlook contacts.
- Open the first group 1A, and remove the names (use Ctrl or Shift keys to select more than one at a time).
- In Excel, click and drag the list of email addresses that you plan to include in 1A, and copy (Ctrl C).
- Go to your Outlook group and select Add members …from Address Book, and then in the Members field at the bottom of the window, paste (Ctrl V) and click okay. It may appear that the list doesn’t match, because Outlook will probably sort by email address.
- Continue this for the remaining groups you need to set up.
Question during a “drop in” session: I have an Excel Workbook with several large worksheets. Three worksheets contain over 100,000 rows, one contains over 80,000 and another 23,000 rows. I need to match up the IDs and place the information from two massive worksheets into the one with 23,000 rows and I can’t figure out how to do it without having to search for each record manually.
Answer: I was possible to use a VLookup formula, however by the time I got to the third column to match and run the formula with such massive data, Excel “choked” and I was not able to save the results or even complete the task. So I went to my favorite application – Access. I imported the three tables into Access, then I created a query joining the common ID field, and selected the desired files, and got results in a matter of seconds, Then I exported the results to Excel. This was SO much faster and easier in Access than using Excel, in my opinion.
This was a question from a medical student during one of our drop in help sessions. I love challenging questions (and simple ones too) and helping people with their projects. These drop in sessions are a good opportunity to get one-on-one help on a variety of projects. See our schedule here.