How to Mail Merge using Google Docs?

How to Mail Merge using Google Docs?

- Published: - 10 minutes read

Want to create personalized copies of a specific document? In this quick guide, we’ll show you how to do a mail merge in Google Docs. Use this to make your recipients feel special, scale your outreach, and save hours of work.

Creating emails, letters, labels, or envelopes in bulk with personalized information used to be a painstaking process.

But over the years, this task has become 10 times easier thanks to a simple discovery called mail merge.

In this quick guide, we’ll show you how to customize hundreds of documents in minutes directly from Google Docs.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Sounds good? Then let’s get started.

What is a mail merge?

A mail merge is a simple tool that takes values from rows of a spreadsheet (or another data source) and inserts them into a template document.

This allows you to create a single primary document (the template) and use it to generate similar documents, each customized with the data being merged.

You can use this process to create a batch of customer invoices. Or to generate labels for a mass mailing. Or to send personalized emails in bulk.

Mail merges are a great way to handle large volumes of recipients, ensure uniformity across all generated documents, and reduce the risk of errors.

With this type of tools, any business, large or small, can create tailored documents for their customers in minutes, and make them feel valued.

How to mail merge in Google Docs?

Google Docs doesn’t have a built-in mail merge feature, unlike other word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word.

However, you can still do a mail merge in Google Docs by using third-party add-ons, like Labelmaker, Autocrat, or Mail Merge.

1. Install a Google Docs add-on

For starters, go to Google Docs and create a new document.

Create a blank document in Google Docs

Then navigate to Extensions > Add-ons > Get add-ons to access the Google Workspace Marketplace.

Open the add-ons menu in Google Docs

In the search bar, type Mail merge. Here are some of our favorite add-ons to mail merge in Google Docs:

  • Labelmaker: A great tool to create personalized labels and envelopes from Google Docs or Google Sheets.
  • Mail Merge: An easy way to customize your emails, envelopes, or letters in bulk directly from Google Docs.
  • Mailmeteor: Only availble in Google Sheets, but it’s the best mail merge platform to send personalized emails at scale using your Gmail account.

Install a mail merge add-on in Google Docs

Select an add-on. In this example, we’ll use Mail Merge. Click Install > Continue. Then grant the add-on permission to access your Google Account.

Mail Merge requires access to your Google Account

Make sure to pick a reputable add-on. Check the reviews, the number of downloads, and choose an extension that respects your privacy.

2. Create your template

You can now create your template document in Google Docs. Simply draft the body of your email, letter, label, or envelope.

Use placeholders for the data you will merge, such as [First name], [Last name], [Email Address], or [Phone Number].

Create a mail merge template in Google Docs

Need some help to get started? Take a look at our library of 100+ customizable email templates to mail merge like a seasoned pro.

3. Prepare your data source

Great. Now let’s connect your Google Docs template to a data source. To do so, go to Extensions > Mail Merge > Start.

Start a new Google Docs mail merge

This will open the Mail Merge menu in Google Docs. From there, select Create Sheet to prepare your data source.

Prepare the data source for your mail merge

If you already have a list of recipients in Google Sheets, click Open spreadsheet to link it to your Google Docs.

Mail Merge will create a demo spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Feel free to edit this spreadsheet and fill it with your data.

Here’s how to format your spreadsheet:

  • Create 1 column for each field you want to personalize. In this example, we’ve included 4 columns.
  • Add a descriptive header to each column of your spreadsheet. In the demo spreadsheet, such as First name, Email address, or Phone number.
  • Fill the spreadsheet with your contact information. Make sure to create 1 row for each recipient of your mail merge.

Edit your spreadsheet to mail merge in Google Docs

4. Customize your template

Once your spreadsheet is ready, go back to Google Docs and click Refresh to sync your template with your data source.

Sync your document with your data source in Google Docs

You can now use merge tags to personalize your template. These fields will be replaced with specific data from your spreadsheet during the mail merge.

To insert a merge tag, select a variable under Merge Field. Then click somewhere in your Google Docs template, and click Add.

Insert merge fields in your Google Docs template to customize it

Repeat this action until you’ve replaced all the placeholders with merge fields.

5. Send your mail merge

To complete your mail merge in Google Docs, click Show Email Settings. Then, under Email To, select the column from your spreadsheet that contains the email addresses.

Set up your mail merge in Google Docs

This add-on also lets you select the email alias from which you want to send your mail merge, edit the sender name, and add a different reply-to address.

If you want to mail merge with attachments in Google Docs, click Attachments and select a file, or add a Google Drive link.

Add attachments to your mail merge in Google Docs

You can now choose if you want to merge your data to create customized emails or letters. In this example, we’ll choose Emails.

Merge to emails in Google Docs

Lastly, to complete your Google Docs mail merge, click Merge. Then press Yes to confirm.

Merge documents in Google Docs

And voilà. The add-on will now create personalized copies of your Google Docs template and send them to your recipients.

Is Google Docs the best option to mail merge?

With over 1 billion active users per month, Google Docs is the most popular online word processor. However, when it comes to mail merge, this app definitely still has room for improvement.

Here are the main limitations of Google Docs for mail merging:

  • Lack of native feature: Google Docs doesn’t have a built-in mail merge feature. To perform mail merges, you need to use third-party add-ons or scripts.

  • Subscription fees: While Google Docs is free, most add-ons require you to subscribe if you want to perform a mail merge.

  • Privacy issues: To use third-party add-ons, you need to grant them access to your Google account, which may raise privacy and security concerns.

  • Sending restrictions: Google has limits on the number of emails that can be sent per day (500 for Gmail accounts and 2,000 for Google Workspace accounts).

  • Limited analytics: Google Docs doesn’t provide built-in analytics or tracking for mail merges, making it difficult to measure the success of your campaign.

For these reasons, most people avoid using Google Docs for their mail merges. Here’s what you can do instead.

Alternatives to Google Docs mail merge

Fortunately, there are other options for customizing documents in bulk. Here are some popular alternatives to Google Docs for your mail merges:

  • Microsoft 365: You can mail merge in Word (or Excel) if you’re used to working with the Microsoft Office suite.

  • Mailmeteor Dashboard: You can send up to 2,000 personalized emails in minutes using Mailmeteor, the #1 Gmail mail merge.

  • Google Sheets: You can mail merge using Google Sheets to customize documents directly from a spreadsheet.

  • Email marketing platforms: You can mail merge in Constant Contact, Sendinblue, or Mailchimp to get advanced features.

  • Email service providers: Lastly, you can perform a mail merge with Outlook, or another popular email client, like Gmail.

The bottom line

Google Docs is a top-notch productivity app, and one of the best tools to grow your business. But it doesn’t have a native mail merge feature. You can easily overcome this limitation by installing a mail merge extension, such as Autocrat, Mail Merge, or Labelmaker.

These add-ons allow you to create personalized letters, emails, labels, or envelopes in bulk directly from Google Docs. However, these add-ons are not perfect. You often need to pay to unlock important features, and they have (very) limited free plans. The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives if you need more powerful software to perform your mail merges.

With 6M+ downloads and a 4.9 rating out of 11K+ reviews, Mailmeteor is often considered as one of the best mail merge tools. Our app allows you to create uniquely personalized messages, automate follow-ups, track emails in real-time, and more.

It’s the perfect tool to scale your outreach, save hours of work, and get the most out of your email marketing efforts.

Our free plan lets you send up to 50 emails a day. For as long as you want. Why not give it a shot? No strings attached :)

Happy merging 💌

This guide was written by Paul Anthonioz, content editor at Mailmeteor. Mailmeteor is a simple & privacy-focused emailing software. Trusted by millions of users worldwide, it is often considered as the best tool to send newsletters with Gmail. Give us a try and let us know what you think!

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