What is Mail Merge?

Mail merge is a method used to create multiple documents for mass mailing with little effort. The documents have identical layout, formatting, text, and graphics that are defined in a template. The final documents each have different personal information within them. The specific data for each document is provided in a data source that works with the template. The data source is typically an Excel or CSV file. The template is created once and then each individual document is created by pulling in data from the rows in the data source. The result is a batch of personalised documents.

Email merge is a mail merge where the documents are automatically emailed out to the specified email address(es) in the data source.

Broadgun Software provides software and services to perform mass emailing of personalized emails merges personalized PDF attachments.

How to perform a mail merge by email with PDF attachments

pdfMachine merge is a tool which will mass email personalized PDF attachments. A CSV or Excel data source is used as the personal content in the email and PDF.

1. Create a template.

Using Word, PowerPoint, HTML or Excel create a template with the layout, formatting, text, and graphics that is common to all of the documents to be mailed.

Insert 'merge fields' as placeholders in the template where the personalized information for each document will be inserted.

2. Create a data source. See how.

Create or download an Excel or CSV file that has the data that will change for each document.

Each column is a merge field. Each row holds the data for a new document.

3. Create a profile in the pdfMachine merge software to link the template and the data source

4. Define the body of the email

Create a body with the layout, formatting and text that will be common to all emails. Insert merge fields as placeholders for the information that will be personal to each email.

5. Choose which email will be used to send the attachments

6. Test the result

7. Send the documents

Video : How to perform a mail merge by email with PDF attachments

Video tutorial demonstrating how to use pdfMachine merge to perform a mail merge which sends batches of emails with personalized PDF attachments. Emails can be sent using Outlook or SMTP.

How to create an Excel or CSV data source for a mail merge operation

Data sources hold the information that is pulled in during a mail merge to personalized the individual emails and documents. They can be created manually or produced by reporting from an existing system, database or application. pdfMachine merge accepts data sources in Excel or CSV format.

Step 1. Make a list of fields you need personalized.

These will be known as merge fields. The merge fields will be the column names in the data source. They must be placed in the first row of the data source.

Step 2. Determine if the rows of the data source will result in one PDF attachment sent in each email, multiple PDF attachments sent in each email, or multiple line items bundled together in a single PDF attachment.

pdfMachine merge can be configured so that either:

  • Each row sends an attachment: one personalized PDF is sent in an email.
    Build your rows so that all information pertaining the the PDF attachment is in a single row. Each row will become a single email with a single PDF attachment.

  • Each row creates a PDF attachment: multiple personalized PDF attachments are sent in each email.
    Group your rows so that all information pertaining to the PDF attachments in the email are in multiple consecutive rows. Each row will have the same information, except for the information that differs per attachment. Each row will become a PDF attachment in a single email.

  • One or more rows generates an email: multiple line items are built up within a single PDF attachment.
    Group your rows so that all information pertaining to the PDF attachment is in multiple consecutive rows. Each row will have the same information, except for the information that differs per line item. Each row will become a different line item in the email body and PDF attachment and be sent in a single email.

3. Create or download a CSV or Excel file with the merge fields as the column headings and the rows grouped as you selected in step 2.

Make sure there are no blank rows until the end of the data source.

4. Your data source is now ready to use in a mail merge operation.

Return to instructions on how to perform a mail merge.