With Slate query tool, users can easily export data from selected records directly into a Mail Merge document. This can be useful when sending out mass mailings to records or when creating customized address labels. Exporting to Mail Merge is a powerful tool for making highly custom processes very simple to complete.
Direct integration with mail merge in a Microsoft Word document is currently only available on a PC. Mac users can export their query as an Excel document and then perform a traditional mail merge.
Slate Desktop is provided as-is. Since errors may result from specific local configurations. Refer to the Troubleshooting Scanning (Slate Desktop, Slate Acquire, Batch Acquire) knowledge base article for information regarding the troubleshooting process.
- Using Microsoft Word, set up the document as the desired format (address labels, letter, etc.).
- Add placeholder text where merge fields are to be added.
- Save and close the document.
- Open the Query tool in your Slate database.
- Use an existing query or create a new query. Use filters to select the records that should be exported to mail merge.
- Add exports to the query for all values that will be used as merge fields in the Microsoft Word document.
- Run the query.
What if we only want the country to show for foreign addresses?
Add a display filter to your country export, so the export will only show if the country is NOT IN your home country
Still want to include students in a mailing if they only have a permanent address? The "Active Address" export block exports the overall rank 1 address.
- After running the query, select the output of Mail Merge Word Document.
- Click Export. A dialog box opens.
- Select Export and setup merge as the action.
- Select Choose File.
- Open the Microsoft Word document that was previously prepared.
- Once the new file has been uploaded, indicate that you plan to "use" that document.
- Click Export. A new Microsoft Word Document will open.
- Use Insert Merge Field on the Mailings tab to add the desired merge fields.
- Click Finish and Merge. This will produce a Word document that can be printed.
The first time you use the Mail Merge Word Document output on your computer, you will be prompted to install Slate Desktop, which enables integration with desktop hardware and software. Slate Desktop must be installed to export a query directly to a mail merge document.
The following additional steps can be taken to set up the mail merge to be used on an ongoing basis:
- After adding merge fields to your Microsoft Word document, save a new copy of this document.
- Upload this new document into the Mail Merge section of the query and delete the previously used document.
- Moving forward, whenever the query is run, Export and execute merge can be selected, along with the desired document
Can an uploaded Microsoft Word document be accessed from multiple computers?
Yes! Everyone with the ability to run a particular query will be able to access these word documents. Multiple documents can also be added to a single query. For example, both a letter document and address labels can be used as mail merge templates for the same query.
If a query is used to send a physical mailing, an interaction can be set for each record in the query run. This assists with tracking the records that have been pulled and the recipient of a mailing. An interaction can be set in one of two ways:
- Use batch management to set an interaction once the query is run.
- When a query is set to Retrieve only the new records since query was last run, a Set Interaction option becomes available. Designating an interaction here sets that interaction for every record when the query is run.
Set the query execution option to Retrieve only the new records since query was last run. Typically, a query that is used as part of a recurring mailing should use this execution option to prevent a record from being returned or mailed more than once.
When a query is set to Retrieve only the new records since query was last run, a row limit can be set to limit the number of rows returned each time the query is run. This can be helpful when a single mailing exceeds the capabilities of your campus mail room.
When building or executing a mail merge in Microsoft Word, a connection is initiated with Microsoft Excel to supply the data for the mail merge. Whether the mail merge is initiated through Slate or through Word and Excel directly, any values containing fractional numeric data may change, due to Excel converting any numbers to floating-point numbers, which is an approximate binary representation of a decimal number.
When merged into a Word document, a decimal value like "3.87" may become "3.8700000000000001." This is due to how Word and Excel interact with numbers during a mail merge, and there is no way to pass a numeric-typed value into Excel that will not undergo this conversion to a floating-point number.
To reformat the number to a specific number of digits following the decimal point, follow these steps to reformat the merge field:
- Right-click over the merge field in the Word document and select Toggle Field Codes.
- The field will now list a merge field code like "MERGEFIELD GPA." You can append the desired numeric formatting following this text, such as "MERGEFIELD GPA \# #.##", where each hash mark ("#") following the decimal point indicates a possible digit. When using a hash mark, trailing zeros are automatically removed. If you do not want to remove trailing zeros, you can enter zeros ("0") instead. For example, to display "3.87" as "3.870", you would enter "MERGEFIELD GPA \# #.000".
- Right-click the merge field and select Toggle Field Codes again to exit this edit mode.