How to perform a mail merge
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How to perform a Mail Merge
If you have never performed a mail merge, read through the section on requirements to ensure they are met before continuing.
- Create a list of recipients. Depending on the page you are working on, do the following:
- On the Family List or Member List page, select the recipients from the grid.
- On the Family Workgroups or Member Workgroups page, select the desired workgroup in the left panel to display its members. Then, in the right panel select the recipients from the grid.
- Select the Mail Merge Icon. In the toolbar, click (Mail Merge). From the displayed menu, select one of the following options: Merge Selected Records or Merge All Records.
- The Mail Merge window opens. For example:
- The Mail Merge window opens. For example:
- You must now select the template. By default, a list of the templates in the My Templates folder is displayed. Do one of the following:
- To open a template in the My Templates folder, click the template's link.
- To open a template in the Global Templates or ParishSOFT Templates folder, select the folder to open it. Then, select the template's link.
- To open a template stored on your computer, select the open one link. Click Browse. Navigate to the location on your computer where the template is stored and open it. The name of the template appears in the file name field. Click Open.
- For instructions on creating a template, go to How to create a Mail Merge Template.
- Click the Mail Merge Tab. The contents of the selected template are displayed in the document text area. For example:
The template contains both the fixed text and merged fields in the document. Merged fields are enclosed in angled brackets (<< >>).
- Review the document. If necessary, edit the content and your merged field selections.
- Misspelled words are flagged with a wavy red underline. Right-click the underlined word to display a list of suggestions. Select the correctly spelled word from the list to replace the misspelled one.
- After making your changes, select the File tab and then click Save.
- Preview all documents in the set. To do this, select the Mail Merge tab. Then, click View Managed Data.
- In the Mail Merge tab, select View Data.
The merge fields in the document are replaced with actual data from the records of individuals you selected in the grid. The first recipient's copy of the document displayed. For example:
- If you have multiple recipients, click Next Record to view the next recipient's copy.
- Repeat until you finish previewing each recipient's copy of the document, making sure that each one is correct.
- Finalize the merge by completing these steps:
On the Mail Merge tab, click Merge to File to open the Merge to File window:
From the Merge mode dropdown list, select one of these options:
New Section: specifies that the next merged fields start in a new section or page in the document. If you have headers and footers in your document, select this option. If you are creating a plain document, such as a form letter, select this option to provide a page break between each recipient's copy of the document.
New Paragraph: specifies that the next merged fields start with a new paragraph.
Join Tables: joins rows, resulting from a mail merge involving a table with merged fields, into a whole table.
From the Choose file type dropdown list, select the document's file type. Mail Merge supports these file types:
.doc and .docx: a Microsoft Word document file. This file is readable by Microsoft Word only.
.rtf: Rich Text Format file. This file is readable by most word processing programs in different operating environments and with different operating systems.
.txt: a plain text file. This file is readable by any text editing or word processing program.
Click OK to close the Merge to File window. The software downloads the file to your computer. The single file contains all of the individual documents or letters.
Mail Merge Requirements
To perform a mail merge, you need the following:
● A data source: The data source is your ParishSOFT database. Mail Merge pulls in the data from your database to populate the merge fields that you insert into your document.
● A recipient list: The recipient list is comprised of the set of records you want to work with. The list is created by selecting individuals from a grid (for example, the Family List grid).
● A Mail Merge template: A template is a document that contains defined merge fields and your custom text. The template must exist and be located in the My Templates, Global Templates, or ParishSOFT Templates folder or stored in a folder on your local computer. If do not have a template, you must create one or use one of the ParishSOFT templates. For instructions on creating a template, go to How to create a Mail Merge Template.
The templates are stored on your local computer or in one of these folders listed at the top of the window:
My Templates: templates stored in this folder are accessible to the logged-in user only. No other users can view these templates unless the logged-in user shares the templates. The templates in the My Templates folder reside on the ParishSOFT server where your database is hosted—not on your local computer.
Global Templates: templates stored in this folder are shared by all users in the currently selected organization. Other users can open these templates and save them to their personal My Templates folder or to their local computer. The templates in the Global Templates folder reside on the ParishSOFT server where your database is hosted—not on your local computer.
ParishSOFT Templates: templates stored in this folder are provided by ParishSOFT. These templates are read-only and are provided as samples that you can use. You can view these templates and use them as a basis for developing your own, but if you want to edit them, you must first save them to the Global Templates folder or to your My Templates folder. The templates in the ParishSOFT Templates folder reside on the ParishSOFT server where your database is hosted—not on your local computer.