Creating a Mail Merge Using Qualtrics

Audience: Faculty and Staff

This KB Article References: Qualtrics
This Information is Intended for: Faculty, Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2019

You can use Qualtrics to send personalized emails to large numbers of individuals (like with a Mail Merge).

Limitations: Each email can only have one recipient (there aren't CC or BCC options). You can't see the email in Qualtrics after you send it, so make sure you are in the Contacts List to receive an email copy in your inbox, and first do a trial run with a few test contacts to be sure the email is as you want it.

Here's how:

  1. Create a contact list as a .csv file and upload it to Qualtrics
  2. Send email to the Contacts list in Qualtrics
Before using this mail merge technique, refer to the Stony Brook IT Email and Broadcast Email message policies

Tip: Before following these instructions with your real recipient list, start with a test by creating a test contacts list (including only yourself and a few collegues who don't mind getting a test email; you can also include doit_training@stonybrook.edu so we can help you test) and send email to that list to see how your email will look before sending it to your actual recipients. Then follow these instructions a second time to create and upload your actual contact list and send email to it.

I. Create a Contacts List

  1. Create a CSV file of your contacts in Excel or Google Sheets (.xlsx files will not work, but you can save as .csv in Excel)

    1. If you already have a spreadsheet file of contacts, make sure there is a column for Email addresses called Email. (The columns can be in any order, but spelling, capitalization, and spacing does matter. If you want to use name columns, use FirstName and LastName). Save it as a CSV file.

    2. If you don't have a list yet, download this CSV template examplemailinglist-2.csv, open it in Excel or Google Sheets, add your data and any additional columns like department or session number (use short column headers to simplify the process later), and then save it as a CSV.

  2. Upload the CSV to Qualtrics:

    1. Sign into Qualtrics at stonybrook.edu/qualtrics

    2. Click Contacts (near the top right)

    3. Give your contact list a name

    4. Click +Create Contacts List

    5. Click Browse then select the CSV created above on your computer

    6. Scroll down in the Add Contacts window to verify the fields from your CSV; click the Fields drop-downs to make any necessary changes; in particular, check that Email is selected for the email addresses. Then click Add Contacts near the bottom right.
      verify fields in add contacts

    7. If you are uploading an updated copy of the CSV, Qualtrics will detect duplicates and you can merge duplicate by clicking on the red button that appears.

    8. If the contact list doesn't appear, click the circle avatar button in the top-right corner and select Refresh Account. Then click to open the Contact list you just created in Qualtrics

II. Send Email to the List

  1. While viewing the contact list you created, click List Options (top right) and select Send Email to List...

  2. Complete the From Name, Reply to Email, and Subject fields.

  3. To create a customized message to your recipients, click {A} then select Contacts Field, and then click on the value you want to add (e.g., Recipient First Name)

  4. To add embedded data (i.e., extra columns you added to the csv file, like Department), click {A} then select Embedded Data Field, and type in your embedded data header (e.g., Department) exactly as it was on your csv created above. Click Insert to add the field into your message.
    add embedded data field Department

  5. To enter a contact list value (e.g., FirstName or Department) in the subject, follow steps 3 or 4 to insert the field into the body of the email, and then cut and paste it into the Subject.

  6. Once you've added contact fields and embedded data fields to your email, it will look something like below (tip: copy this text and save it in a document to use for subsequent messages so you don't have to recreate the message later if this is just a test message)). Once completed, click Send.

  7. To see the history of emails to a contact list recipient, select a person’s name, and click View History (top right)

    And the history will display

Adding an Image to a Mail Merge in Qualtrics

  1. Follow steps 1 through 6 above.

  2. Click on the picture icon. 

  3. If your image isn’t saved to your library, click Upload a New Graphic, otherwise select the image from your library.

    • If you’re uploading a graphic from your library, you can choose a file from your computer, or you can copy and paste the link to an image online.

    • Once you’ve uploaded an image, you’ll be given the option to categorize it in your library, resize it, rename it, etc. 

  4. The image will be inserted into your email. You can click and drag it to change its position.

  5. You can edit your image by right-clicking on it and selecting Image Properties (here you can give it a border, change the size/the alignment, and give it padding).

  6. Resume from step 7 above.

Getting Help


The Division of Information Technology provides support on all of our services. If you require assistance please submit a support ticket through the IT Service Management system.

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Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

DoIT Training and Development

Qualtrics Support