8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2012 7:32 PM by AnswerFeedback_6

    Mail Merge?

    MartinJuleff

      Title

      Mail Merge?

      Post

      Hey Guys,

      Work has just bought Filemaker Pro and my boss would like to use it for Mail merge, rather than going through Excel and then uses microsoft word to print the labels.

      Just wondering whether this is possible or not? Has anyone done it before? If not how would i go about it?

      Marty

        • 1. Re: Mail Merge?
          GuyStevens

          You can import an excell file directly into filemaker.

          Say you have a list of contact information for example.

          The idea is that every row in excell contains the data for 1 contact. Every column contains things like: Name, Adress, Zipcode, City, ...

          Then you can create a layout in Filemaker that contains a letter and you can use merge fields to enter data from the table.

          For instance:

          <<LastName>><<FirstName>>
          <<Adress>>
          <<Zip>> <<City>>

           

          Dear <<Title>> <<LastName>>

          Here you can write an entire text. And you can add merge fields in your text if you want to personalize the letter.

          This letter can be a premade letter entered into a layout to be printed. Or the text can come from fields that you can then edit more easily.

           

          Otherwise, if you like to print labels you just use the data from the Contact information table. You can print on a large sheet with multiple labels or you can print using a single label printer.

          • 2. Re: Mail Merge?
            philmodjunk

            If you need better results than you can get when printing directly from FileMaker, you can also export the data as a merge file that can then be used with MS Word to print out your data. You shouldn't need that for printing labels, but if your form letter is more than one page long, Word handles the page breaks better than FileMaker...

            • 3. Re: Mail Merge?
              davidanders

              http://www.seedcode.com/cp-app/ste_cat/fmSpark

              Overview: FileMaker Mail Merge

                  Merge mails in browse mode

              FileMaker 10-12 Compatible

              A completely unlocked communications tool, you can attach fmSpark to your FileMaker Pro databases, allowing you to send rich, data-driven emails, letters, and labels. fmSpark comes with a sample set of templates and html stationery that you can modify to create your own library of merge documents. And of course fmSpark is unlocked so that you can bolt it on to your work and modify the solution to suit your needs.

              Manage all of your communications, from letters to html emails without leaving browse mode. And turn your contact database into a communications center.

               

              The real version costs $129 for Single User.             The DEMO version

              This is a feature-limited demo of fmSpark provided for your evaluation. This version differs from
              the purchased, unlocked product as follows:
              • You may not edit the scripts or layouts of this demo as you can in the actual product.
              • This demo can not be integrated with your own databases.
              • All correspondence sent from this demo is watermarked "Sent from an unregistered copy fmSpark."
              • You will not be able to transfer templates or messages created here into the purchased
              version of fmSpark.
              Aside from these limitations this demo is fmSpark. Please enjoy looking it over and thank you
              for checking out our work.

              • 4. Re: Mail Merge?
                AnswerFeedback_6

                Hey Guys, back again.

                 

                Okay, so i've worked out that using the stock Contacts page, it's quite easy to print labels, just by clicking 'Labels' and from there printing it or exporting to an excel file. I chose the latter as we're using Avery Label paper and using filemaker to print did not fit correctly onto the labels.

                Now  this presents it's own sort of problem really. Clicking on labels, only name, address, city/suburb,state,post code are passed and we need to have something more like;

                Job Title

                Mine Name/Company

                Address

                City/Suburb, Postcode

                 

                But i cannot for the life of me, find out where to edit the data that is exported after clicking this button? IS it possible to modify this?

                 

                Thanks guys

                • 5. Re: Mail Merge?
                  philmodjunk

                  I chose the latter as we're using Avery Label paper and using filemaker to print did not fit correctly onto the labels.

                  Generally speaking, setting up a labels layout in Filemaker to fit a specified Avery number is very easy to set up. What problems did you have doing this? It may be that a very simple "tweak" to your layout is all that's needed to print the labels directly from Filemaker--saving you a lot of extra steps in this process.

                  For the rest of your question, you need to describe what you are doing and how in much more detail. Are there fields for Job Title, Mine Name, Company in your database? Are you manually exporting the data or using a script?

                  • 6. Re: Mail Merge?
                    AnswerFeedback_6

                    Generally speaking, setting up a labels layout in Filemaker to fit a specified Avery number is very easy to set up. What problems did you have doing this? It may be that a very simple "tweak" to your layout is all that's needed to print the labels directly from Filemaker--saving you a lot of extra steps in this process.

                    For the rest of your question, you need to describe what you are doing and how in much more detail. Are there fields for Job Title, Mine Name, Company in your database? Are you manually exporting the data or using a script?

                     

                    Is there a guide somewhere about setting up a labels layout to print onto s specified Avery labels sheet?

                    Basically, what i did was use the default 'Contacts' database template that came with Filemaker. It has a button up the top that allows your tp print labels, but it automatically fills the labels with information. This is generally fine and works, however, we want to use different data as described above. This is how we were exporting the data to Word to then print to the labels as the default layout in the 'Contacts' template was not calibrated.

                    Yeah there are fields for Job Title, Mine name and company in the database.

                    • 7. Re: Mail Merge?
                      GuyStevens

                      I'm going to assume you are using Filemaker 12. Then if you use the Contacts Starter Solution you can have a look at the label layout by selecting the "Layouts" dropdown box in the top left corner and going to the layout "Labels". If you go in Layout mode you'll see:

                      Labels

                      What you see here is a layout with columns and merge fields. A Merge field allows you to enter text that fits nicely next to each other. If you would use fields you would have to give each field a fixed size. For instance the "Last name" field would have to be as large as the longest last name there is. But then if a person has a short last name there would be a long gap. With merge fields you don't have this problem. And with merge fields you could enter a text or a whole letter and have some parts of it get filled in with data from the database.

                      For instance:

                      Dear <<Title>> <<LastName>>

                       

                      It has come to our attention that your invoice Nr: <<Invoicenumber>> dated <<InvoiceDate>> has not been paid.

                      ...

                      Now if you want you could start adjusting this layout, but it might be better, easier to start again and just make a new label layout.
                      Because that way you can select the exact avery label you use.

                      So here's how to make a new label layout:

                      We are currently in the old label layout, that's ok, go in layout mode and click "New Layout / Report" on the top.

                      Show records from "Contacts" That is if your labels are supposed to show contact information, but I'm assuming that's the case here.
                      Layout Name: Let's call it Contact Labels Avery XXXX - So we know from the name what labels to use.
                      Select a layout type: "Labels" - You will have to scroll down a little for that one.

                      Then hit next and you will be asked to specify your label. I don't know which one you use, So I'm selecting a random one.
                      If your label isn't in there you can enter the measurements manually.

                      The next step allows you to enter the data on your layout. You can add fields as merge fields and combine hem the way you want.

                      Just double click them in the top and they'll show up in the bottom. Just make sure to add spaces where you need them. And hit enter to start on a new line. Mine looks a little like so:

                      layout

                      There is also a <<ZipCode>> <<City>> field but that's when you scroll down.

                      The next step allows you to choose how you'll view your label. In Preview mode you can see what it will look like, in Layout mode you can edit the label.

                      Now we did all of this using an assistant, but we can do all of this in a blank layout manually as well.

                      - Setting up the columns:

                      In Layout mode, go to "Layouts" - "Layout Setup" - "Printing"

                      There you can change how many columns you want and how they are printed.

                      - Changing the Size of the layout:

                      In Layout mode, click the grey "Body" part label that's on the left side of the merge fields and edit it's height in the Inspector under "Position" - "Height"

                      You can change the units by clicking on the units themselves.  You will cycle trough "pt (points), in (Inch), cm (Centimeter)

                      - Changing Merge Fields:

                      Double click in the text area and you can edit the label data. You can enter all your merge fields in one large text object. Or you can make multiple different text objects. This can be useful for different kinds of data with different kinds of formatting. (a date, an amount of a certain currency, a time, ...)

                      Enter a new merge field by hitting Ctrl-M (Windows) or be going to "Insert" - "Merge Field"

                      Changing the button in the Contacts Starter Solution.

                      If all of this was successful and you managed to create your desired label layout. All we still need to do, is make the button so that it uses this layout and not the original (old) one.

                      Go to the layout that contains the button (That would be the "contacts" layout that's a list view)
                      In Layout Mode, right click on the "Labels" button and choose "Button Setup".

                      That way you'll find out which script is being used to print the labels. In this case it's a script called "Print Labels"

                      Let's go to "Scripts" - "Manage Scripts" to find this script and edit it.

                      There you'll find the "Print Labels" script. Let's double click it to see it's contents.

                      Script

                      If we analyze this we can see that the "Go To Layout" step takes us to the old layout. That will have to change.

                      If you select this line then you'll see on the bottom it says "Specify Layout". There we can select "Layout" from the dropdown to select our newly created layout: "Contact Labels Avery XXXX"

                      If you save the script and try the "Labels" button again you should now have the ability to print your very own labels. And if you selected the correct avery label, they should be printing very nicely.

                      And if they don't, you have now learned how to edit them to make them exactly the way you want them.

                      Creating a merge letter:

                      If you want you could even create letters in Filemaker that use Merge fields from your database.

                      Let's do a quick example:

                      Create a new layout (Go in Layout mode in any layout and choose "New Layout / Report)

                      Show Records from: "Contacts"
                      Layout Name: "Letter"
                      Select a layout type "Blank Layout" - You will have to scroll for this one.

                      Hit finish and you'll get a completely white page.

                      Now you can add a header (company logo) a footer (company address info...)

                      And type up a standard letter and enter Merge fields to make that letter personalized.

                      On the top you can enter the address like you did on the label. If you place it inside a separate text object then you can easily position it to fit the window of an envelope. It could look a little like so:

                      Merge Letter

                      Printing this merge letter:

                      This is all good, now we still need to be able to print tthis letter to one particular contact.

                      Let's make the following script:

                      Script

                      Now create a button on the Contacts Details layout named "Print Payment Reminder" or something. You can get very creative with png images etc.

                      Right click this button and as "Button Setup" make it run the script we just created "Print Merge Letter".

                       

                      I hope this clears it all up a bit and gives you an idea of what you can do in Filemaker with merge fields, labels and letters.
                      And you can ofcourse, take all of this much further.

                      • 8. Re: Mail Merge?
                        AnswerFeedback_6

                        You Sir, are a true Saint!! Thank you so much, this guide was fantastic and i'm very appreciative of your effort!

                         

                        Sorry about the lengthy reply, but i've started back at uni so i haven't made it into the office too often.