How to do a mail merge from Google Docs

Written by
Holly Meikle
A mail merge can be an extremely useful tool for the majority of businesses in order to streamline processes for maximum efficiency. Although there are many mail merge software available, these are often quite expensive. Did you know that there is an even easier way to create a mail merge with the tools you already have? You can create a mail merge using Google Docs!

Finding a way to create a mail merge directly using Google Docs is a very useful thing for many business processes. Whether you’re sending personalized letters to recipients, or private contracts to new employees, a mail merge allows you to bulk send customized emails in a matter of minutes, without sacrificing a high standard of work.

In this article, let’s explore the ways you can create a mail merge from Google Docs, and why creating a mail merge from Google Sheets may be a better alternative for your business for a more straightforward, customizable, and effective way to send personalized emails in bulk.

How to create a mail merge from Google Docs

Unlike Microsoft Word, Google Docs does not have a native mail merge feature. This means that in order to create a mail merge using Google Docs, you must combine it with other features and tools.

There are two main ways you can create a mail merge using Google Docs:

  1. Coding: If you have sufficient experience in coding, you can use Google Apps Script or Google Docs API to create your mail merge.
  2. Third-party add-ons: You can use apps from the Google Workspace platform that allow you to create a mail merge from Google Docs. These include add-ons such as Mail Merge for Google Docs, G Merge Plus, Autocrat and Smartsheet for Google Docs.
With no native mail merge feature, there is an extremely limited number of ways to achieve a Google Docs mail merge. Unfortunately, the above methods of creating a mail merge using Google Docs are rather complex and require advanced coding skills. For most users, it’s simply not worth the time, money or effort to use. We recommend that users should find an easy alternative.

Why you should mail merge from Google Sheets

Contrary to Google Docs, creating a mail merge from Google Sheets is a much more accessible, simple alternative that offers even more benefits. You can each row of spreadsheet data and transfer it directly into your email, creating personalized emails ready to send to recipients.

With Sheetgo, you can go one step further and automate the entire process. In just a simple workflow, Sheetgo allows you to create a mail merge via Gmail in 2 different ways – one also including your Google Docs!

1. Sending a mass email

Sheetgo allows you to create personalized mass emails directly within the online tool. You can create a custom workflow containing your spreadsheet full of custom data, and choose to generate an email template. Sheetgo turns each column of your spreadsheet into a smart tag – you can add these to your email template, and Sheetgo will substitute the tags with the dynamic data from your spreadsheet.

As a result, you can send out hundreds of personalized emails in a matter of minutes, without having to use Google Docs.

2. Sending data from existing Google Doc

If you already have your content in an existing Google Doc, Sheetgo also offers a way for you to share this as a bulk email also. You can create a Google Doc template with your specific data, and send this as an attachment to recipients via Gmail.

Simply connect your spreadsheet full of data to your Google Doc template. Sheetgo will transfer the dynamic data in your spreadsheet to the Doc template, and create a new Google Doc for each row of data.

As a result, recipients will receive a personalized document as an attachment to the email.

Now that you understand the intelligent ways Sheetgo can create a mail merge, let’s go through a step-by-step on how you can create a mail merge using Google Docs through Sheetgo.

How to create a mail merge using Google Docs

Finding a way to create a mail merge that uses Google Docs is extremely useful, especially when your content is already in a Google Doc, such as a letter.

In this example, let’s say I am head of HR for a school. I need to send out letters to parents about their children’s student attendance. I already have the main content of the letter in a Google Doc, and all of the student attendance data in a Google Sheet.

Using the Sheetgo online platform, I can create a workflow that connects these two files together, transfers the data into the Google Doc, converts the Doc to PDF (for security purposes), and then sends the Doc as an attachment via Gmail directly to each recipient – all automatically!

Step 1: Sign up to Sheetgo

To sign up for Sheetgo, click on the button below. You can sign up using your Google, Microsoft, or Dropbox account.

To create a mail merge, you must be subscribed to the Individual or Business plan. Head to the Sheetgo pricing page for more details.

Step 2: Prepare your spreadsheet and Docs template

You should have two different files ready to connect to a workflow:

1. Spreadsheet source data

Your spreadsheet should contain all of the dynamic data you would like to transfer to your document template.

For example, my spreadsheet contains data about each student’s attendance, including their name, percentage of attendance, number of sick days, etc. This will allow me to create personalized letters for each student.

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Important: Make sure that each column has a clear header – this will become a Sheetgo Tag you can use to transfer this data to a specific place in your document template (see more below). Each new row of data will create a new document.
2. Document template

Your document template should contain the text you wish to have on all of your generated documents. Then, use the Sheetgo Tags (the headers of your spreadsheet columns) where you would like to transfer the dynamic data to. Don’t forget to format each tag with double curly brackets – {{tag}} – for this to work.

As you can see below, I have my letter template ready, with the main text typed out, and the smart tags where I want to add dynamic data.

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Step 3: Create a new workflow

Now that your files are ready, it’s time to create your workflow.

First, head to the Sheetgo web app. In the Workspace, click +New Workflow.

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Under Create a custom workflow section, click Create connection from the new connection option.
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Step 4: Connect your files

It’s time to upload your files. Under Select source click on the Single file option to upload your spreadsheet.

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Click +Select file and search for your spreadsheet. You can change the storage folder on the left-hand side of the window. Once you locate your file, double click to upload it.

In the dropdown below, select the spreadsheet tab where your data is located. Then, press Next.

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Next, scroll down to the Generate section and select Documents.
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Click +Select file and upload your document template. Below, you can edit the file names of the new documents you’ll generate – in this example, I have renamed the files “{{Student first name}}’s attendance”. You can also choose to add these new documents to a new or existing folder, and also change the folder name.

In order to ensure that only one document is generated for each row of data in your spreadsheet (i.e. to avoid duplication), make sure that the Check generated documents button is activated.

Once you’re happy with your edits, click Next.

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Step 5: (Optional) Generate PDF versions

Sheetgo not only allows you to directly send your Google Docs as attachments or access links, but also converts them to PDF automatically. This is a great option for those who have documents better suited to PDF for sharing, such as contracts, reports or invoices. This is because PDF is a universally compatible and more secure format – click on the following link to read more about converting Google Docs to PDF for more information.

In order to convert your newly generated documents into PDF, under the Generate section click PDF.

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Here, you can choose whether to add PDF versions of your documents to a new or existing folder. You can also rename the folder and change its location within your storage files.

Once finished, click Next.

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Step 6: Share via Gmail

Now that you have your newly generated documents (and PDFs), you can prepare the mail part of the mail merge!

Under the Share section, select Gmail.

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Firstly, select the way you want to send your documents using the dropdown menu under the Sending method section. You can choose from the following options:
  1. Share files and send access links: Send access links for your Google Docs for recipients to access the online file. Edit their permission level as either a Viewer or Editor.
  2. Add files as attachments: Send Google Docs as a Word attachment or PDFs as an attachment, that recipients can download to access the file.
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Next, add the email addresses of the recipients. Sheetgo gives you the option to either manually enter email addresses (Use custom recipients), or to transfer the email addresses located in your spreadsheet (Get dynamically from column).

As I have the parent emails already in my spreadsheet. I can choose the Get dynamically from column option. In the dropdown menu, select the column where the email addresses are located. In this example, I will choose column A.

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Finally, you can change the subject of your email based on your needs.

Once finished, click Finish and save.

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Google Docs mail merge

And there you have it! With Sheetgo, you can set up a mail merge using your Google Docs in a matter of minutes. From a simple spreadsheet, you can transfer your dynamic data into your Doc and send it as an attachment or access link to recipients – all automatically!

After following these steps, you should be able to bulk email personalized documents that look something like this:

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Looking to automate important document generation within your business processes? Why not check out our article on How to create a contract generator in PDF and Gmail?

Alternatively, read more related blog posts below!

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