How to Send a Mail Merge in Mozilla Thunderbird

One of the most annoying things that could happen is receiving an unsolicited email from someone which obviously shows it is a mass email. As a recipient you know and can tell if it is another marketing hype or a sincere message of “Hi, Hello, and Goodbye!”

If you’re a Google Apps user, perhaps you have heard the sending a mail merge in Gmail that allows you to send a single message to quite a number of recipients without looking spammy using Google Drive and Google Scripts. On the other hand, there is another way to do it using the Mail Merge extension in Mozilla Thunderbird. Create a message or template in the drafts and send it to many recipients, with it looking personal and customised.

This tutorial requires you to have the following:

Install Mozilla Thunderbird

For first time users, you need to set up your default email account in Thunderbird. Here are expanded tutorials on Automatic Account Configuration and Manual Account Configuration on Mozilla support.

If you’re using Thunderbird as your default e-mail client, proceed to the Mail Merge download and installation.

1. After downloading the Mail Merge file “mail_merge-3.10.1-sm+tb.xpi,” launch Thunderbird. You may set it as your default email client or skip the integration.

Set Thunderbird as default.

2. Click Tools and choose “Add-ons,” and it will direct you to the “Add-ons Manager” tab. See the gear icon adjacent the Search bar, and click the drop-down menu.

Thunderbird Add-ons Manager

3. Choose “Install Add-on from File,” and open the Mail Merge file that you previously downloaded; restart the email client for the changes to take effect.

Restart Thunderbird for the changes to take effect.

Mail Merge is beneficial for those who have been building their e-mail contacts in a spreadsheet. In this tutorial, here’s what it looks like.

1. Create a spreadsheet and save it as a .csv file (e.g. mtelist.csv based on screenshot) if you don’t have one.

Create a spreadsheet and save it as dot-csv file.

2. Make sure that the columns are filled up with names and email addresses. Choose “Save as” for the file and click OK. Never mind the warning in the dialog box; proceed to the next step.

Ignore the Compatibility check recommended warning.

1. Click the “Write text” icon and create a new message. You may also add more recipients manually in the “To” field.

2. When writing, always include the text you want to use from the CSV file you saved previously with double brackets, e.g. {{Name}}. See A1 on the spreadsheet above.

Include text from CSV file with double brackets.

3. Once you finish writing the draft, go to File and select Mail Merge. Set the Mail Source to CSV, the Delivery Mode (Send as Draft, Send Later, and Send Now), the Format (HTML or Plain) and if you have attachments.

Go to File and select Mail Merge.

4. Click Browse to upload the CSV file from the directory where you have saved it and click OK. Mail Merge will run, and it will send your message according to the Delivery Mode.

You can check if the messages are sent in the Sent folder. If you have set the Delivery Mode as Send Later, then they will be automatically saved in Outbox under Local Folders. Keep in mind that the text inside the double brackets should be the same text or name of the column labeled in the CSV file you have saved. See A1 on the spreadsheet above. The CSV option works well; however, when I tried to do it via Address Book, I keep on getting errors.

Let us know how it works on your side and feel free to share other ways to create mail merge.