Tips for Effective Use

The status bar is your friend
As you use CustomMailer, keep your eye on the status bar at the bottom of the main window.  CustomMailer will generally prompt you for what needs to be done and report various status and errors in this area.  In general, green status bar text is used for prompting and status, gold status bar text represents transient progress messages or busy indications, and red status bar text means there is a problem or some other exceptional situation you need to deal with.

Drag to resize mailing list columns
Mailing list columns are initially autosized, but you can drag on the column heading separators to make the larger or smaller.  In particular, if there are error messages reported in the "SendStatus" (first) column of the mailing list, often there is additional information to be seen if you widen the "SendStatus" column.  You can also use the "Resize Mailing List Columns" command under the "View" menu to automatically calculate the column widths that show you the entire contents of each column.

Sort mailing list columns
Click on the mailing list column headings to sort on that column. Click again to sort in reverse order.  These operations can take a few seconds for very large mailing lists, so be patient.  To sort on multiple criteria, click on column heading in "minor to major order", that is, first click on First Name (the "minor", less important, tie-breaking category) and then Last Name (the "major", primary category) so that people with the same Last Names are grouped together, and within groups with the same Last Name further sorted by First Name.  Sorting may be alphabetic, numeric, or by date.  The type of each column is detected based on the apparent type of the first non-empty row of data.  Numeric data may be integer numbers, numbers with decimals, or currency in your current Locale.

SendStatus column and error messages
CustomMailer begins your mailing list with a column called "SendStatus".  This column will report sending status: Unsent, Sent, Sent:n (where n is the number of times this line has been sent), and Dup.  In addition various error messages are reported there such as SEND ERROR, MACRO ERROR, ADDRESS ERROR, etc.  SEND ERROR means that your SMTP server has returned an error message.  This error message is included in the SendStatus column but is usually long, so remember to widen the SendStatus column to reveal the entire error report.

Use a spreadsheet program to modify your mailing list
Spreadsheets provide a very effective way to prepare and maintain your mailing lists.  For example, using Microsoft Excel, some particularly useful techniques are:

Separate one field into many fields:
        1) Suppose you have names in Column A like John J. Clifford
        2) Insert new columns B, C, and D
        3) Select Column A, then under Data menu, choose Text to Columns...
        4) Chose Delimited option (Fixed Width also useful for other situations)
        5) Click Next and chose Space as a delimiter
        6) If display looks right, click Finish, delete column A if happy with result, provide new column headings, etc.
        7) Be sure to use more columns if names have more parts like: Dr. John J. Clifford, Jr.

Convert date (time, currency, etc.) formats:
        1) Suppose you have dates like 1/13/03 15:17 in Column A and want a column like January 13, 2003
        2) Click on Column A and under Format menu, chose Cells..., click on category Date and chose desired format.
        3) Use category Custom to create specialized formats.  Excel contains useful format controls for many other categories
        4) Use Text to Columns technique as above to make separate columns for January, 13, and 2003

Calculate functions of existing data (e.g. remove leading and trailing spaces from a column of your mailing list)
        1) if column to fix is column A, insert a new column B
        2) enter =TRIM(A2) in cell B2 (assuming your column headings are in row 1)
        3) copy cell B2 and paste into B3, B4, etc.
        4) select column B, copy, and (IMPORTANT) use Paste Special and specify Values to paste back into column B
        5) delete column A if happy with result
        6) other functions like =CLEAN(  ), =COUNTIF(  ), =SUM(  ), =PROPER(), math, financial, database, etc. are useful for other purposes

Other useful techniques are discussed in "Frequently Asked Questions".