Outlook: Sending a Message to Many Recipients Individually

I want to send a message to many recipients, one recipient at a time. The message will have the same subject line and the same two attachments, but I'd like to customize parts of the body of the message. How do I copy one message into a new message and make just the necessary changes in the body before sending it?

Microsoft Office doesn't support attachments in messages that you create with a Microsoft Word mail merge, but I've discovered other ways to send a similar message to many people. Use any of the techniques I describe if you ever need to send individual messages with attachments to multiple recipients.

One method is to go to the Sent Items folder after you send the first message, open the sent message, then choose Actions, Resend This Message. Change the recipient, edit the body, then click Send.

If you need to send the same message to someone else a week later, finding it in the Sent Items folder might not be convenient. Instead, you can save the message in your Drafts folder for later use. Create the message, but don't send it quite yet. Close the message, then click Yes when Outlook asks whether you want to save changes. The message is now available in your Drafts folder. If you don't use WordMail as your editor, you can create a copy of the message that's ready to send by opening the message from the Drafts folder and clicking Forward. Alter the recipient list and the body of the message, then press Send. If you use WordMail as your editor, press the Ctrl key as you drag the message to the Drafts folder to create a copy of your original message. Open the copy, make your changes, and send the message.

The main problem with the Drafts folder method is that sooner or later, you're likely to lose track of what you're doing and send the draft rather than forwarding it or making a copy. But you can always create a new draft by going to the Sent Items folder, choosing Resend, and saving that resent copy as a draft, as I just described.

One final technique uses Outlook's ability to save canned messages as Outlook forms. If you use WordMail, you must first disable it by clicking Tools, Options, Mail Format. Next, create a new message with the text and attachments you want to send. To save the message as a template in the file system, choose File, Save As, then choose Outlook Template (*.oft) as the type. You might want to save this template to your desktop or your My Documents folder for easy access. To use the template to send a message, simply open the .oft file. As an alternative, you can publish the message as a form in your Inbox by clicking Tools, Forms, Publish Form. This step places a command to launch the form on the Actions menu in the Inbox.

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