11 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2009 1:44 PM by philmodjunk

    Form letter layout

    EirRaider

      Title

      Form letter layout

      Post

      I have set up a form letter that automatically adds a contacts name and personal data, but I can not get it so I can type into the body of the letter without going into edit layout and changing every layout for every contact. Is there a way to set the layout so that I can just type directly to it without editing it for every contact?

        • 1. Re: Form letter layout
          TSGal

          Eir Raider:

           

          It appears that your letter is in a layout; not a field.  If you have a field for your letter, you can enter the information into the field, and it does not affect the display for every user.  When you change a layout, it changes for everyone viewing records in that layout.

           

          TSGal

          FileMaker, Inc.

          • 2. Re: Form letter layout
            philmodjunk
              

            Note that there are a number of ways to use filemaker to merge the body text of your letter with specific fields of data that contain names, addresses and other data.

             

            Another option is to export your filemaker data as a merge (.mer) file and then use MS Word to generate the desired form letters.

             

            Feel free to post back with a more detailed description of what you'd like to do.

            • 3. Re: Form letter layout
              EirRaider
                

              Well I would like to be able to go from the contact to the pre formatted letter and type a short message and then email it to them all through filemaker. Right now I can not type into the layout of the letter and the emailing is a whole other issue we do not know how to do yet.

               

              for background purposes, we have switched to mac and we used to use ACT to manage our files but now we can not and from what we heard filemaker could do the same thing for us.

               

              With that said, we used to have a letter on the desk top that with ACT you just go to the contact then tell it that you want to send a message and tell it which one and it filled in the info of the contact then you just typed and emailed.  With filemaker we have been able to do none of those things. I was told to create a layout form letter inside of filemaker, which I did, but now do not know how to fill it in like a letter or email it to a client from inside filemaker.

               

              The main point was to create a record of emails sent to that client. 

               

              Thanks PhilModJunk for your help. 

              • 4. Re: Form letter layout
                EirRaider
                   how do I have a letter in a field? 
                • 5. Re: Form letter layout
                  philmodjunk
                    

                  Put your letter into a text field. You can size your text field to fill most of the page so that you have:

                  Dear <<table::field>>,

                   

                  with a large text field filling the rest of the page.

                   

                  To insert the salutation so that the name comes from a field, Type your layout text and then press Ctrl-M to insert a merge field. The specify field dialog will pop up for you to select the table and field that refers to the desired name. Now you can print.

                   

                  This is an extremely simple version of a form letter. Given that you can store your letter text in a field in a record. You have the option of creating several different letters each in a different record.

                   

                  More sophisticated options are also possible.

                  • 6. Re: Form letter layout
                    EirRaider
                      

                    I am not understanding how to actually put my letter into a text field or store it in a field in a record, if they are the same thing or not. Ho do I do that in filemaker? I understand the salutation inputting a field from the contact, I have that set already. The only problem I am having is the actual body of the letter, I can not write anything in the body without changing the entire layout. Sorry for being so simple and thank you for all the help, I was really good with a PC and now I feel lost a lot of the time.

                     

                    Thanks for the help, again. 

                    • 7. Re: Form letter layout
                      philmodjunk
                        

                      Eir Raider wrote:

                      I am not understanding how to actually put my letter into a text field or store it in a field in a record, if they are the same thing or not. Ho do I do that in filemaker? I understand the salutation inputting a field from the contact, I have that set already. The only problem I am having is the actual body of the letter, I can not write anything in the body without changing the entire layout. Sorry for being so simple and thank you for all the help, I was really good with a PC and now I feel lost a lot of the time.


                       

                      PC or Mac it's the same process.

                       

                      1. Select Manage | Database from the file menu.
                      2. Click the Fields Tab.
                      3. Select a table that you want to store your letter text.
                      4. Type a field name into the bottom text box such as "gLetterBody".
                      5. Make sure the field type to the right of the field name text box shows "text" not "Date" or "Number" or ....
                      6. Click Create.
                      7. Click the options button to the right of the field type.
                      8. Click the storage tab
                      9. Click the "Use global storage check box".
                      10. Click OK twice to leave Manage | Database.

                       

                      You've now created a text field where you can type in your letter text.

                      1. On a layout, use the field tool to drag and drop a new field onto your letter layout.
                      2. A specify field dialog box will pop up.
                      3. Select gLetterBody from the table where you defined it and click OK.
                      4. You should see little black boxes at each corner of the new field. If not click the field once with your mouse to make them appear.
                      5. Drag these boxes to change the size of your field so that it fills most of your layout screen.
                      6. Return to Browse mode, saving your changes.

                       

                      Now you can type in your text field. Since it's a global field, the same text will appear for all records.

                       

                      Note: this method is best for a database that is not being shared over the network. If you are going to have several users working with the same database at the same time over the network. We'll have to Put the text field in a related table and not select "Global Storage". If that's how you'll be using the database, let me know and I'll describe that approach.

                       


                      • 8. Re: Form letter layout
                        EirRaider
                          

                        Thank you PhilModJunk for the info.

                         

                        I had actually already done all that and just did not know that was what it was called.  However, unfortunately that does not help us for what we need.  The closing part of our letter has to be able to adjust for the body of our message to maintain the professional look that our letterhead needs to have.

                         

                        What I am really trying to get out of filemaker is to be able to go from the contact to a form letter that is filled out with all their info automatically, which I have so far. Then from there, be able to type a message in the body of the letter for that individual contact and be able to email it to them, all from filemaker. right now only one of those steps is possible.  Even if we could get the body worked out, having the letter in a layout is not allowing us to email it. 

                         

                        I know it is a lot to ask, and you have helped us out so much already, but can you help with this?

                         

                        Thank you either way. 

                        • 9. Re: Form letter layout
                          philmodjunk
                            
                          Eir Raider wrote:

                          "The closing part of our letter has to be able to adjust for the body of our message to maintain the professional look that our letterhead needs to have."

                           

                          By "adjust for the body", do you mean that the length of the letter body varies and you need the signature block to close up the empty space? If so, you can set a "slide up" property on your fields to eliminate the undesirable empty space.

                           

                          Enter layout mode. Select the letter body field and any fields/layout text below it. Select Format | Select Sliding Printing... Click the "Sliding up based on..." and "Also reduce the size of the enclosing part" check boxes. Now, when you preview or print your letter layout, you should see that any empty space between the letter body and signature blocks has been eliminated.

                           

                          "What I am really trying to get out of filemaker is to be able to go from the contact to a form letter that is filled out with all their info automatically, which I have so far. Then from there, be able to type a message in the body of the letter for that individual contact and be able to email it to them, all from filemaker. Right now only one of those steps is possible.  Even if we could get the body worked out, having the letter in a layout is not allowing us to email it." 

                           

                          This information significantly changes my understanding of the problem. Even with this information, I can interpret the above paragraph two ways.

                           

                          Option 1:  You want to email a form letter to a recipient as an attachment to an email.

                          Option 2:  You want the form letter to be the body of the email itself.

                           

                          Since I've been visualizing that you want to print and mail/fax form letters to recipients, all my advice to date works for option 1 but doesn't do the job for option 2. If you can get your layout to work for you to the point you can print or preview the layout and get the "professional look" that you want, you can use filemaker to email a PDF (acrobat file) of your letter to a recipient.

                           

                          With Option 2, you'll need to take slightly different approach, but this can be done as well. If this is what you want, let me know.

                           

                          In either case, Judging from other threads on this forum, many users are finding it a challenge to configure an email server correctly so that Filemaker Pro can interact with it. If you are having problems getting filemaker to successfully send out email, I suggest researching the other threads here on that subject or starting a new thread. I don't use Filemaker to send out email myself, I can help you structure layouts and fields to get the letter you want, but can't help you configure your email server so that you send the email from Filemaker.

                          • 10. Re: Form letter layout
                            EirRaider
                              

                            I know this is going to sound stupid when you read it, but how do you select both the letter body field and the text below it? So far everything I have tried has not worked once I am done following the rest of the directions you wrote regarding the Format| Sliding Printing. 

                             

                            Also I would prefer Option 2:  You want the form letter to be the body of the email itself. I have already configured my email server so that when I use the script to email it already sets the contacts email address into an outgoing email, so that part at least is covered. 

                             

                            Thank you again.  

                            • 11. Re: Form letter layout
                              philmodjunk
                                

                              Here's how you would send an email by hand. Once you can successfully send an email by hand, you can put these steps into a script and put a button on the layout to send the email with a single button click:

                               

                              1. Locate the record of the person you wish to email and type the letter to them in the text field I have described to you.
                              2. Select File | Send Mail...
                              3. The send mail dialog box will appear.
                              4. Click the button with the black triangle to the right of the To: text box, click specify field... and select the field storing the recipient's email address
                              5. In like manner, enter a Subject either by typing it or by referring to a field if you've typed the subject line in a text field.
                              6. For the body of the email, click the button to the right of the Message box, Select specify by calculation and enter the following expression:

                              "Dear " & table::namefield & ",<p><p> & table::Letterbody & "<p><p>Sincerely,<p><p>" & table::SignatureField

                               

                              (Each place you see <p>, click the paragraph button to insert a carriage return into the expression.)

                              1. Click OK to close the specify calculation dialog box.
                              2. Click OK to send the email.

                              With this approach, sliding up and other layout options will not affect the appearance of your email.

                               

                              These instructions will send the email IF your email server and filemaker work together like they should. If you can't get the email to "go", I'd start a new thread asking how to go about this.

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