Before you begin preparing templates for use with Redtail, it’s a good idea that you become familiar with what fields Redtail supports as available for Mail Merge documents. You can view that list of fields here.
Preparing Your New Mail Merge Template
Open up Microsoft Word and pull up either a blank document or an existing document that you would like to make available as a Mail Merge template.
Date and Time
If you are preparing a letter or some other document and you want to include the date and/or time, be aware that Redtail has no mail merge field for this because Microsoft Word has this function built in as an Insert. Within Microsoft Word, select Date & Time under the Insert menu. You will then see the dialog box below with many available Date and Time formats from which to choose:
Also, if this is a document you plan to use on multiple occasions, make sure that you check off the Update automatically box before you click OK. That way, whenever you use this document template in a mail merge, whichever format you chose for date and time will be current.
Adding Mail Merge Fields to your Template
If you’re ready to begin adding Mail Merge Fields to your template, the process is the same whether you’re using Microsoft Word 2007 or an older version of Word. The one difference is how you go about getting to the dialog box which allows you to add fields. In older versions of Word, under the Insert menu choose Field. This will bring up the dialog box below. If you’re using the 2007 version of Word, the Field option is available in a dropdown menu under Quick Parts on the Insert menu. Either way, the dialog box below is what you’ll be working with. Instructions for completing it are below the dialog box:
Categories: Choose “Mail Merge” from the dropdown box.
Field Names: Choose “MergeField” from the choices available. Options under Field Properties do not become available until you have performed this step.
Field Properties: In the Field name text box, type in the Merge Field name you want to use (pick from the list of acceptable Field names on Redtail’s Mail Merge Fields document.) In this example, we are using “Firstname” as our Merge Field.
Format: Leave this as “(none).”
Click OK and the dialog box will disappear.
You’ll then see the example below in your Word document, indicating the Mail Merge Field for First Name is now in your document:
Proceed to add all the Mail Merge Fields that you need in your document. NOTE: It’s important to remember that if you’re adding an address block you should always add all three lines of the address. If a recipient doesn’t have address information that would ordinarily populate the Address 2 field, the spacing will adjust automatically within the document intended for them. If including an address block, it should look like the example below once in your document:
If you created a Mail Merge Document Template that included a Date & Time, an Address Block and a Salutation addressed to a First Name, the template might look something like the following:
If this were your document and you were happy with the layout, your next step would be to save the Word document somewhere on your computer so that you can upload it for use within your Redtail account. We recommend creating a folder either on your desktop or somewhere else that you can remember easily and calling the folder something like Mail Merge Document Templates for Redtail. Save your templates to this folder so you can easily find them when attempting to upload to Redtail. Note: You should save the file with an extension of .doc rather than .docx, as in some cases you may run into formatting issues with files you've saved and uploaded as .docx files.
Once the document is saved, you can then navigate within your database to Manage Your Account --> Mail Merge Templates. You’ll then see a library of your current Mail Merge Document Templates, if any. In the top right corner of the area displaying these, you should see an add link. Click that and you'll then see the below:
Click Add Files to locate the template file you just saved on your computer. Once you locate that file and click Open, the upload process will begin. After upload, the template will be available for your use in your library of current Mail Merge Templates. An example of that area appears below:
In addition to the "add" button above your Mail Merge Templates, you also have a "filter" button that will allow you to filter the Mail Merge Templates you are viewing based upon any Categories you may have assigned to them.
Also, to the right of your Templates are two additional areas. The Select Files area will allow you to add and upload new Mail Merge Templates. The Templates by Category area is a visual representation of your Mail Merge Templates by Category (if you assign Categories to your Templates).