2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2015 3:57 AM by tkemmere

    Approach for creating standard letters

    tkemmere

      Dear all,

       

      Being completely new to FileMaker (and setting up relational databases for that matter), I have arrived at the point that I have a completely working database with Accountmanagers, Companies, Contact persons, Contact history and a number of containerfields holding related PDFs. Great! Took me appx 8 days.

       

      Now it is time to start the magic, and I could use some help regarding how to approach it.

       

      I would like to set up a system that produces standard letters for me. Like for example a cover letter when I send out a brochure to a customer. The user is in the layout Contactperson and clicks on a button [Make coverletter]. he is directed to a new layout where the letter is presented. There are a number of variable bits of text so the letter can be used for a couple of puposes. Also I would like there to be a choice between a formal way of putting it and informal, (tutioyer vs, vouvouyer). Of course there are the Adress and Name fields, but those are related, so getting those filled shouldn't be a problem. I thinking of having the tickboxes and dropdowns that define the letter-setup in the non-printing header.

       

      So my question is, fundamentally, how do I set this up? Do I

      1) Make a new table for this letter, that I have filled with relevant data when the user clicks on [make letter], and that is additionally populated when the user uses the ticks and dropdowns in the header? (And then display the letter of that table).

      Or is it better to

      2) not bother maing such a table, and somehow have the ticks and dropdowns in the header, control the text in the letter?

      Or should I

      3) Use variables that I load, when [make letter] is clicked?

       

      I simply don't know yet. If someone is willing to get me going a bit, I'll feel much more comfortable knowing I'm on the right way.

       

      I feel a bit uncomfortable asking these basic questions, if you have any recommendations on where to find such info, that would also be helpful. One simply can't really Google for a question like this, I think. I did follow one of the Lynda courses on FM, which shows really a lot, but I wasn't able to destill what would be the best way for this one. At the moment I'm diving into the Starter Solutions to see whether I can figure it out.

       

      Thanks very much in advance.

      Regards, Thomas Kemmere.

        • 1. Re: Approach for creating standard letters
          Mike_Mitchell

          Thomas -

           

          Not to worry. We all started somewhere.  

           

          tkemmere wrote:

           

          So my question is, fundamentally, how do I set this up? Do I

          1) Make a new table for this letter, that I have filled with relevant data when the user clicks on [make letter], and that is additionally populated when the user uses the ticks and dropdowns in the header? (And then display the letter of that table).

          Or is it better to

          2) not bother maing such a table, and somehow have the ticks and dropdowns in the header, control the text in the letter?

          Or should I

          3) Use variables that I load, when [make letter] is clicked?

           

           

          My answer would be, "How do you want to set it up?"   

           

          Seriously, any of these options is workable. It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you're wanting to keep a record of these letters (as a history), then option 1 would be your best bet. (Unless you dump them to PDF and keep them outside the system; that would work too.)

           

          Option 2 can be accomplished using merge fields (Placing merge fields on a layout) or merge variables (Inserting merge variables onto a layout). Use global storage on the fields, or set the variables via a script, and you're golden.

           

          Option 3 is kind of like option 2. Just choose the merge variable option.

           

          So you've got good options here; none of this is "bad". It's a question of what's appropriate for the use case.

           

          HTH


          Mike

          • 2. Re: Approach for creating standard letters
            tkemmere

            Thank you Mike, also on this one.

            • We have no need to keep history in a table. The letter will be printed and sent. (As a backup, upon clicking print, I will also trigger a script that puts a PDF into a container in a new record in the related contact history). So I drop option 1.
            • I'm also not going to use option 2 "merge fields", cause not all the info is in fields. Like the choice between formal and informal for example.
            • I'll go for 3. "merge variables". I'll load some before leaving the Contact person layout and a few more will be controlled from within the header.

            Thanks for your response, it gave me more insight as to what these options intail.

            • ...oh, I could actually go for for a mix between 2 and 3: Use merge field for the related fields that are already defined, and merge variable for the choices that are made through tickboxes in the stage that the letter is finalised.