4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 4, 2014 2:11 PM by plbcms

    Tracking Mail Merge/Form Letters

    plbcms

      Hi All,

       

      I am a FileMaker newbie, so mea culpa in advance if I am asking an obvious question.

       

      I need to create a mail merge/form letter feature for a FMP database I am working on. Using merge-fields and text blocks on a layout dedicated to the purpose (and then pulling data from a separate accounts table), I have been able to accomplish the functionality I need BUT I am struggle to find a way to track which letter was sent to which person listed in the accounts table—the system has multiple letters that can be sent and each potential recipient can receive from 0-N of any number of the available letters. As the letters are (essentially) templates stored in layouts and not instance generated from a template and then stored in a corresponding table, make the association seems problematic. Can anyone make suggestions about how I can capture this information?

       

      Thanks,
      Pete

        • 1. Re: Tracking Mail Merge/Form Letters
          mikebeargie

          As the letters are (essentially) templates stored in layouts and not instance generated from a template and then stored in a corresponding table, make the association seems problematic.

           

          Looks like you answered your own question! Make the generation of the letters record based. Just create a simple "LettersSent" table that has a many-to-1 relationship to your accounts table. The new table doesn't even have to have anything to do with your template layouts, just use it as a "log".

           

          I'd imagine you already have a button that takes you to one of the templates for the account record you are selecting from. Add the action of creating a new record in the new table as part of that button's script.

           

          This will also help you save loads of other useful info, like the time it was created, who sent it, etc..

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          • 2. Re: Tracking Mail Merge/Form Letters
            plbcms

            Yes, thanks. The approach you outline will solve the problem.

            • 3. Re: Tracking Mail Merge/Form Letters
              robwoof

              You have a couple of options here:

              1) If the letter layouts were associated with a separate table (e.g. "Letters" or "Correspondence"), you could create a record for each letter that contains the recipient's Contact ID along with the date/time and the template used.

              2) If the letter layouts are associated with the Contacts table, then perhaps you need to have a "log" table that records Contact ID, Template (name or ID) and date/time. If you have the letter-generation process scripted, the log entry can be part of the script.

               

              Note that if you have the letter layouts associated with the Contact table, it would not be difficult to add a Letters table, related to Contacts by Contact ID, and then just change the Table Occurrence for the letter layouts. Since the Contacts table is related, the Contact ID will provide the link to any Contact-related fields on the letter layout. Another refinement would be to auto-enter (lookup or calculation) the Contact info for each letter/log entry so that you have a historical record of the address the letter was sent to at the time of sending. This is useful if a contact changes address - they may call up and ask why they have not received a letter, and you can check their address, and see that the letter was sent to their old address.

               

              Feel free to ask further questions - I'm not sure I have explained this very well.

               

              Rob

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Tracking Mail Merge/Form Letters
                plbcms

                Rob, thanks. I will likely ask some follow up questions but for the moment you (and Mike) have given me enough to chew on (and have sparked a few ideas too). Much appreciated.

                 

                --Pete