How to send digital certificates for free with Office Mail Merge (+alternatives)

Office Mail Merge is a simple (but not so intuitive) way to create many certificates for different participants at once. Here is the step-by-step guide!

May 27, 2022
7 min
|      by
Malte Zander
digital badges education

How to send digital certificates for free with Office Mail Merge (+ alternatives)

Are you training, educating or coaching people in any form and are looking for a way to send them a digital certificate?

The reasons for sending digital certificates are endless. Perhaps you want to acknowledge someone’s accomplishment, increase the perceived value of your course or simply leave a lasting experience.

In this article you will learn about three simple ways to create and send digital certificates to your participants. This will contribute to a great learning experience and will save you a bunch of time!

1) Use Mail Merge (FREE with Microsoft Word) to create and send your certificates

With the functionality of mail merge (included in the standard version of Microsoft Word) you can create your certificate templates for free in Word and automatically fill all the recipient information using Excel.

Here is a step-by-step guide for you:

I) Open your word and insert any image files and texts that you want to use as a certificate and leave a dedicated space for the recipient information.

Start by inserting an image file in your word document (you can download certificate templates right here)

Digital Certificate in Word
Digital Certificate in Word

II) Click on “Start Mail Merge” and select “Step-by-Step Mail Merge Wizard” and go through the following steps:

Start the Mail Merge Wizard in your certificate document

Start Mail Merge Wizard inside Microsoft Word
Start Mail Merge Wizard inside Microsoft Word

Select letter in the Mail Merge Wizard

Choose "Letter"
Choose "Letter"

Select “use the current document”

Select “use the current document”
Select “use the current document”

Select “Use an existing list” and upload your recipient list

Select first option to "Choose existing list"
Select first option to "Choose existing list"

In case you didn't prepare your recipient list, you can open excel and make sure that you have one column with all of your recipient names

Example Excel file for recipient names
Example Excel file for recipient names

Click on “more items” and select the column that includes all of your names

Select column "Name" from your example Excel
Select column "Name" from your example Excel

Insert the placeholder for the recipient name into your certificate design

Placeholder <Name>
Placeholder <Name>

Skip to the 6th step and click on “print” and select “print all”

Print all pages
Print all pages

Now select “Microsoft Print to PDF”

Microsoft Print to PDF
Microsoft Print to PDF

You successfully created multiple certificates with MS Office Mail Merge!

Finished Certiicate

2) Use this free and straight forward certificate generator

As you’ve probably noticed, Mail Merge is not exclusively meant for certificate creation and therefore it is more of a hack that feels a little bit clunky to use.

There are free solutions on the internet that allow you to generate certificates for participants in an easier (and nicer!) way. This is how you can create your certificates with it:

I) Open https://www.virtualbadge.io/resources/certificate-generator and follow the step-by-step guide:

Select one of the templates that fits your training or course


Choose template for your free digital certificates from Virtualbadge.io
Choose template for your free digital certificates

Edit the certificate template to your needs: Change the text fields, upload your logo, etc.

Edit fields inside your certificate to fit your use case with Virtualbadge.io
Edit fields inside your certificate to fit your use case

Edit the placeholder for your recipients — this field will automatically be replaced by your uploaded recipients in the next step

add Recipients name Virtualbadge.io
The name of your recipients will be substituted here

Either upload entire CSV files that you already prepared for MS Word Mail Merge or…

Upload a CSV file with the names of your recipients
Upload a CSV file with the names of your recipients

… add single recipient names to personalize the certificate — when you’re done you can simply click on download

Add Recipients name individually
Manually type the name of each recipient

Each certificate created will be downloaded in a separate file, making the distribution process easier for you.

3) Use the Virtualbadge.io tool to automatically create, send, manage and verify your certificates

To mention it before any confusion comes up — this alternative is great solution for any educational provider that issues certificates on a regular basis and not necessarily for occasional issuers.

With this tool, you are be able to…

…manage multiple course certificates from one place

Dashboard from Virtualbadge.io
Dashboard from Virtualbadge.io


…further personalize your certificates with profile pictures and custom fields


Profile pictures are uploaded by the recipients, without any extra work for you.
Profile pictures are uploaded by the recipients, without any extra work for you.

…send personalized certificates with one click via the included email sending service

Choose your favorite email template to send the certificates
Choose your favorite email template to send the certificates

...simply add new recipients to existing campaigns

Recipient list
Recipient list

…resend lost certificates with one click

Recipient list #2
Recipient list #2

…secure your certificates from fraud through a QR code validation

Preview of PDF certificate
Preview of PDF certificate

…integrate your recipient’s certificates into LinkedIn to benefit from word-of-mouth marketing

Button to add certificates to LinkedIn Profile under "Licenses and Certifications"
Button to add certificates to LinkedIn Profile under "Licenses and Certifications"

…analyze your certificate engagement with analytics functionalities

Certificate statistics
Certificate statistics

Conclusion

As you see there are various ways to approach the topic of creating and sending professional digital certificates which don’t necessarily require lavish budgets.

In the end, different companies are on different levels and it should be a strategic decision for every educational providers to determine the required degree of professionality regarding the certification process.

In case you decide to professionalize your digital certificates, you can talk to one of our experts. You will receive an individual and free consultancy covering how your company can benefit from certification processes on Virtualbadge.io.

You can directly book this appointment via the following link: https://calendly.com/virtualbadge-demo/15-minutes


* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.

Ready to start issuing digital certificates that build trust?
START NOW
7-DAY FREE TRIAL