Microsoft Excel Import

How to Import Email Lists from Microsoft Office Excel into MacMassMailer

Written by Kirill Vasilyev on July 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Most of you prefer to keep customer lists in Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet files because it is very convenient. You can easily create, edit, manage, and filter out customer lists using it. However, sooner or later you will need to create a mailing list out of a spreadsheet and send out personalized email newsletters to the customers who are on the list.

In this article, I will teach you how to export a customer email list form Microsoft Office Excel into a CSV file. Then I will guide you through the steps on how to import this CSV file into MacMassMailer and send out your first personalized mass email newsletters from your Mac.

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The basic idea behind this is to use a standard plain text CSV file (comma-separated values) as a middleman between Microsoft Office Excel and MacMassMailer. CSV is always a plain text file, normally in unicode UTF-8 or UTF-16 text encoding. Every line of the file represents one record (a single customer record) that contains information about your customer in the form of data fields (such as name, email address, phone number, etc.) separated by a comma(normally), semicolon or TAB.

If your spreadsheet contains customers with Order, Name, Email, Product and Website columns, your CSV file would look as pictured below:


Note that the second example contains quotes around the data fields. The quote character is called Qualifier. Some spreadsheet processors add it for better clarity in case if commas are used in the fields. Normally, either quotes or apostrophes are used as qualifiers. Comma here is called Field Separation Character or delimiter. It can be comma, semicolon or TAB. By default Microsoft Excel uses comma as delimiter and does not use any qualifiers.

Now, let’s talk about how to create a CSV file out of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. I assume you already have a spreadsheet file ready to be imported in MacMassMailer. So, let’s start doing this.

How to create a CSV file in Microsoft Excel

If you have Microsoft Excel on your Mac and have your spreadsheets in .XLS format, then follow the steps below to create a CSV file.

1. Start Microsoft Excel.
2. Open your spreadsheet file.
3. Use the File->Save As… command in the main menu to open the Save dialog box.

4. When the Save dialog box is open, specify the file format as Comma Separated Values (.csv) using the Format combo box.

5. Specify file name and location using the Save As and Where boxes in the Save dialog box. The correct file extension for a CSV file would be .csv shown by default.

6. Press the Save button and in a few seconds a new CSV file is created at the location you have specified.

Importing a CSV file in MacMassMailer

To import recipients from a CSV file, you use the Import Wizard in MacMassMailer. To start, you click on the Import button in the main toolbar which is on top of the main window. At least one recipient group has to be created in order to accommodate the new recipients.

If you are importing not only email addresses and names, but also other information such as telephone numbers, products ordered and so on, you must create custom fields that will hold this information.

Let’s import the CSV file we just created into MacMassMailer.

1. Start MacMassMailer and select the Fields node in the outline view (on the left side of the main window). Note, we do not have the following fields we need: “Order”, “Product”, and “Website”. We have these fields in our CSV file, but we do not have them in our database. If you import our CSV file now, these fields will not be imported. To add a new custom field, click on the + button while the Fields node in the outline view is selected.

2. In the New Field dialog box, enter a name of the new field, macro name and default value. Field name is used as a label for the field everywhere in MacMassMailer in the user interface. Macro name is used in your message templates to reference this field. For instance, ORDER will be referenced as follows: {ORDER}. Default value is used in case the field is empty in your database for a particular recipient. This recipient will use the default value when the macro is resolved.

3. Press Ok to add the field. Then repeat the steps to add all the fields we need. After we add all 3 fields, our field list will look as follows.

4. Now, let us add a new recipient group that will hold the recipients we have in our CSV file. Select the Groups node in the outline view (on the left side of the main window), then click on the + button.

5. In the dialog box, specify Group Name, From Address (the email address used in FROM of your email messages) and From Name (the name that is used in FROM of your email messages).

6. Press OK and a new recipient group will be added. You will see the new group in the outline view under the Groups node.

7. Select the newly created group and press the Import button on the toolbar that is located on top of the main window. The new recipients will be added to this selected group.

8. In the Import Wizard, on the first page, select the second radio button that states “Import email addresses, names and other recipient data fields”. Then press the Next button.

9. Select the Local File radio button and then specify location of the CSV file you want to import, or press the Browse button to browse your file system for the file. Then press the Next button.

10. Now you have arrived at the Data Preview step. Very often you will see some alien characters in the data structure preview. This is normal. It happens if an incorrect text encoding has been detected. We will correct it later by using the controls we have at hand on this page of Import Wizard.

11. Select the correct text encoding. We used the Unicode UTF-8 encoding. Now we can see some readable text in the preview:

12. Now, select the Comma checkbox in the Delimiter group to separate data fields into separate columns.

13. Note the column header names. Then correspond the database fields to import the data fields of your file into. They must match the information in the columns. In our example they do not match.

14. To match the column headers and the data columns, you must simply drag a non-matching column header and drop it onto the right one. Or click on the header of a non-matching column with the mouse, and the column will become selected. Then click on the “<- Move Left” or “Move Right ->” button once or more times until the column moves under the correct matching header.

15. Repeat these steps for the other non-matching fields until all the column headers match the information that is contained in the columns.

16. Now, all the headers match the information that is contained in the columns. We can press the Next button to proceed to the next step.

17. If you are just importing new recipients, you should click on the first radio button that states “Add new and update existing recipients without enabling/disabling them”.

18. Press the Finish button and MacMassMailer will import your CSV file successfully. You will end up with a populated recipient group.

19. Note that the recipient list displays only two fields: “Email” and “Name”. You can not change this view. The other fields such as “Order”, “Product”, and “Website” are imported correctly but simply not shown in the table. You can check this by double-clicking any recipient in the list and checking the green fields in the recipient editor.

How to create a message template to personalize mass messages.

1. Start MacMassMailer, then select the Messages node in the outline view (on the left side of the main window). Then click on the + button to add a new message template.

2. In the message editor, specify Subject and enter the message itself in the Body box. Use the macros listed in the macro list to reference the data fields you have just imported in your message template. In the final messages the macros will be replaced with the real information stored in the database. Drag the macros from the list of macros and drop them onto the Body or Subject edit boxes.

3. Press Ok to save the new message. The new message should appear in the list of messages in the main window.

4. Now we are ready to send this message to our mailing list. But, wait! We need to test the message first. Exclude the newly created group with the real recipients by clicking on the checkbox located next to group name label in the outline view (on the left side of the main window). Then add a new test group. Name it “Test”. Then select this group in the outline view and click on the + button to add yourself as a test recipient.

5. Enter recipient information and press the Ok button. A new recipient is now added to your Test group.

6. Press the Start button on the toolbar to start sending. Then press the Start button on the sending confirmation dialog box.

7. When sending is complete, check your email. You should receive an email message like this:

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