If you create an email newsletter in Microsoft Publisher, you have probably run into the same problem that I did - distributing the newsletter after creating it. Publisher allows you to send the file as an email message (File -> Send Email) but surprisingly doesn't allow you to send it to a distribution list.
This is fine if you only want to send it to a few people, or if you don't have to worry about making everyone's email visible to everyone else in the group. But what if you send a business newsletter to clients? Or if you want to personalize each message (for example, putting each persons name in the salutation as opposed to a generic one)?
Previously, the only options that I saw were to send it to every person individually (can become extremely time consuming) or send it to the distribution list as a BCC (Blind Carbon Copy). BCC's are bad for two reasons - one, they tend to be automatically filtered out as spam, and two, they don't allow for personalization.
Most people will tell you that if you are in this situation it is time to upgrade to professional email software. I personally like doing my newsletter design in Publisher and would prefer to continue to use Publisher. I also like using Outlook distribution lists. I have a script that sends me the list of people that are signed up to my newsletter each month in a format that simply copies and pastes into a working Outlook distribution list.
So I came up with a work-around that I now use for my newsletter:
Step 1: Create your Newsletter in Publisher I use the term ‘newsletter’ but any Publisher file can be sent via email, so whatever your application you can put this strategy to work for you.
Step 2: Create your Distribution List in Microsoft Outlook If you aren't familiar with Distribution Lists, there is a tutorial at http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=417511&seqNum=3
Step 3: Send your Newsletter to Yourself In Publisher, go to (File -> Send Email -> Send This Page as Message) and email it to your email account in Microsoft Outlook.
Step 4: “Forward" the Newsletter to the Distribution List using a Mail Merge At this point, you have received your newsletter at your email account in Outlook and you no longer need Publisher. Essentially, the rest of the process is just forwarding your newsletter to your Distribution List using a Mail Merge, something you can't do when sending via Publisher. This consists of several steps:
1. Save your Distribution List in Rich Text Format by opening the List and choosing File -> Save As.
2. Open the list, delete any headings, and replace them with headings for the fields in your distribution list, separating each heading with a tab. For example, if your distribution list contains first name, last name, and email address, you would want to list those headings in the order they appear, separating them with a tab.
3. Click Forward on the email that you sent yourself and delete the lines of text that show the recipient that it is a forwarded email.
4. Click in the body of the message, and choose Tools -> Letters and Mailings -> Mail Merge.
5. Choose E-mail Messages and hit Next.
6. Choose Use the current document and hit Next.
7. Click Browse and select your Distribution List. Your list should appear, click OK and then click Next.
8. Use the More Items menu to insert any personalized messages. For example, you could greet each recipient personally by inserting their name at the top of the email. Click Next when complete.
9. Edit your recipient list if you like. Otherwise, click Next to complete the merge.
That's it! Now you can now send your Publisher email as a Mail Merge!
Adam McFarland owns SportsLizard.com - an online marketplace for buying and selling sports collectibles .
SportsLizard.com was recently awarded honorable mention in the Microsoft Start Something Amazing Awards.
You can read Adam's blog about being a young internet entrepreneur by going to http://www.sportslizard.com/blog/