A simple, command line mail merge tool.
Python Shell
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Latest commit 53a2981 Nov 1, 2017

README.md

mailmerge

A simple, command line mail merge tool.

Andrew DeOrio awdeorio@umich.edu
http://andrewdeorio.com

mailmerge uses plain text files and the powerful jinja2 template engine.

Quickstart

mailmerge will guide you through the process. Don't worry, it won't send real emails by default.

$ pip install mailmerge
$ mailmerge

If you get a Permission denied error, use sudo pip install mailmerge or virtualenv venv && source venv/bin/activate && pip install mailmerge

Example

This example will walk you through the steps for creating a template email, database and STMP server configuration. Then, it will show how to test it before sending real emails.

Create a sample template email, database, and config

$ mailmerge --sample
Creating sample template email mailmerge_template.txt
Creating sample database mailmerge_database.csv
Creating sample config file mailmerge_server.conf
Edit these files, and then run mailmerge again

Edit the SMTP server config mailmerge_server.conf

The defaults are set up for gmail. Be sure to change your username. If you use 2-factor authentication, you may need to set up a one-time password for use by an app. mailmerge will give an error with a URL to the right GMail support page. Other configuration examples are in the comments of mailmerge_server.conf.

[smtp_server]
host = smtp.gmail.com
port = 465
security = SSL/TLS
username = YOUR_USERNAME_HERE

Edit the template email message mailmerge_template.txt

The TO, SUBJECT, and FROM fields are required. The remainder is the body of the message. Use {{ }} to indicate customized parameters that will be read from the database. For example, {{email}} will be filled in from the email column of mailmerge_database.csv.

TO: {{email}}
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, {{name}},

Your number is {{number}}.

Edit the database mailmerge_database.csv

Notice that the first line is a header that matches the parameters in the template example, for example, {{email}}.

Pro-tip: Add yourself as the first recipient. This is helpful for testing.

email,name,number
myself@mydomain.com,"Myself",17
bob@bobdomain.com,"Bob",42

Dry run

First, dry run one email message. This will fill in the template fields of the first email message and print it to the terminal.

$ mailmerge --dry-run --limit 1
>>> message 0
TO: myself@mydomain.com
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, Myself,

Your number is 17.

>>> sent message 0 DRY RUN
>>> Limit was 1 messages.  To remove the limit, use the --no-limit option.
>>> This was a dry run.  To send messages, use the --no-dry-run option.

If this looks correct, try a second dry run, this time with all recipients using the --no-limit option.

$ mailmerge --dry-run --no-limit
>>> message 0
TO: myself@mydomain.com
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, Myself,

Your number is 17.

>>> sent message 0 DRY RUN
>>> message 1
TO: bob@bobdomain.com
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, Bob,

Your number is 42.

>>> sent message 1 DRY RUN
>>> This was a dry run.  To send messages, use the --no-dry-run option.

Send first email

We're being extra careful in this example to avoid sending spam, so next we'll send only one real email. Recall that you added yourself as the first email recipient.

$ mailmerge --no-dry-run --limit 1
>>> message 0
TO: myself@mydomain.com
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, Myself,

Your number is 17.

>>> sent message 0
>>> Limit was 1 messages.  To remove the limit, use the --no-limit option.

Now, check your email make sure the message went through. If everything looks OK, then it's time to send all the messages.

Send all emails

$ mailmerge --no-dry-run --no-limit
>>> message 0
TO: myself@mydomain.com
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, Myself,

Your number is 17.

>>> sent message 0
>>> message 1
TO: bob@bobdomain.com
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Hi, Bob,

Your number is 42.

>>> sent message 1

A more complicated example

This example will send progress reports to students. The template uses more of the advanced features of the jinja2 template engine documentation to customize messages to students.

progress_report_template.txt

TO: {{email}}
SUBJECT: EECS 280 Mid-semester Progress Report
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Dear {{name}},

This email contains our record of your grades EECS 280, as well as an estimated letter grade.

Project 1: {{p1}}
Project 2: {{p2}}
Project 3: {{p3}}
Midterm exam: {{midterm}}

At this time, your estimated letter grade is {{grade}}.

{% if grade == "C-" -%}
I am concerned that if the current trend in your scores continues, you will be on the border of the pass/fail line.

I have a few suggestions for the rest of the semester.  First, it is absolutely imperative that you turn in all assignments.  Attend lecture and discussion sections.  Get started early on the programming assignments and ask for help.  Finally, plan a strategy to help you prepare well for the final exam.

The good news is that we have completed about half of the course grade, so there is an opportunity to fix this problem.  The other professors and I are happy to discuss strategies together during office hours.
{% elif grade in ["D+", "D", "D-", "E", "F"] -%}
I am writing because I am concerned about your grade in EECS 280.  My concern is that if the current trend in your scores continues, you will not pass the course.

If you plan to continue in the course, I urge you to see your instructor in office hours to discuss a plan for the remainder of the semester.  Otherwise, if you plan to drop the course, please see your academic advisor.
{% endif -%}

progress_report_database.csv Again, we'll use the best practice of making yourself the first recipient, which is helpful for testing.

email,name,p1,p2,p3,midterm,grade
myself@mydomain.com,"My Self",100,100,100,100,A+
borderline@fixme.com,"Borderline Name",50,50,50,50,C-
failing@fixme.com,"Failing Name",0,0,0,0,F

Dry run one message
Test one message without actually sending any email.

$ mailmerge --template progress_report_template.txt --database progress_report_database.csv 
>>> message 0
TO: myself@mydomain.com
SUBJECT: EECS 280 Mid-semester Progress Report
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>

Dear My Self,

This email contains our record of your grades EECS 280, as well as an estimated letter grade.

Project 1: 100
Project 2: 100
Project 3: 100
Midterm exam: 100

At this time, your estimated letter grade is A+.


>>> sent message 0 DRY RUN
>>> Limit was 1 messages.  To remove the limit, use the --no-limit option.
>>> This was a dry run.  To send messages, use the --no-dry-run option.

HTML formatting example

This example will use HTML to format an email. Add Content-Type: text/html just under the email headers, then begin your message with <html>.

mailmerge_template.txt

TO: {{email}}
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>
Content-Type: text/html

<html>
<body>

<p>Hi, {{name}},</p>

<p>Your number is {{number}}.</p>

<p>Sent by <a href="https://github.com/awdeorio/mailmerge">mailmerge</a></p>

</body>
</html>

HTML and plain text formatting example

This example shows how to provide both HTML and plain text versions in the same message. A user's mail reader can select either one.

mailmerge_template.txt

TO: {{email}}
SUBJECT: Testing mailmerge
FROM: My Self <myself@mydomain.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="outer-boundary"

This is a MIME-encoded message. If you are seeing this, your mail
reader is old.

--outer-boundary
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Hi, {{name}},

Your number is {{number}}.

Sent by mailmerge https://github.com/awdeorio/mailmerge

--outer-boundary
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
  type="text/html"; start="<body@here>"; boundary="inner-boundary"

--inner-boundary
Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
Content-Disposition: inline
Content-ID: <body@here>

<html>
<body>

<p>Hi, {{name}},</p>

<p>Your number is {{number}}.</p>

<p>Sent by <a href="https://github.com/awdeorio/mailmerge">mailmerge</a></p>

</body>
</html>

Hacking

Set up a development environment. This will install a mailmerge executable in virtual environment's PATH which points to the local python development source code.

$ python3 -m venv env  # or "virtualenv env" for python2
$ source env/bin/activate
$ pip install --editable .

Test code style and run unit tests

$ ./bin/test-style
PASS style tests
$ ./bin/test-functional
PASS functional tests

Test python2/python3 compatibility. This will automatically create two virtual environments and run all style and functional tests in each environment.

$ ./bin/test_python2_python3
PASS