Export to Microsoft Word Mail Merge Document

Using the 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 to export customized address labels. Exporting to Mail Merge is a powerful to tool to make highly custom processes very simple.

Important!

Integrating directly with a Mail Merge 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.

Setting up the Mail Merge
Setting up the Microsoft Word Document
  1. Using Microsoft Word, set up the document as the desired format (i.e. address labels, letter etc.).
  2. Add placeholder text where merge fields will be added.
  3. Save and close the document.
Setting up the Query
  1. Navigate to the Query tool in your Slate database.
  2. Use an existing query or create a new query. Filters should be used to select which records should be exported to Mail Merge.
  3. Add exports to the query for all values that will be used as merge fields in the Microsoft Word document.
  4. 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

  Tips

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.

Running the Mail Merge
  1. After running the query, select the output of Mail Merge Word Document.
  2. Upon clicking Export, a new dialog box will open.
  3. Select Export and setup merge as the action.
  4. Select Choose File and open the Microsoft Word document that was previously prepared.
  5. Once the new file has been uploaded, indicate that you plan to 'use' that document
  6. Click Export
  7. A new Microsoft Word Document will open. Using 'Insert Merge Field' on the 'Mailings' tab to add the desired merge fields.
  8. Click Finish and Merge. This will produce a Word document that can be printed.

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Important!

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. It is necessary to install Slate Desktop to export a query directly to a Mail Merge document.

Ongoing Mail Merge Processes

The following additional steps can be taken to set up the Mail Merge to be used on an ongoing basis:

  1. After adding merge fields to your Microsoft Word document, save a new copy of this document.
  2. Upload this new document into the Mail Merge section of the query and delete the previously used document.
  3. 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.

Tips and Recommendations
Using Interactions

If a query is run to send a physical mailing, an interaction can be set for each record in the query run. This assists with tracking records that have been pulled and to whom a mailing has been sent. An interaction can be set in one of two ways:

  1. Use batch management to set an interaction once the query is run.
  2. 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 will set that interaction for every record when the query is run.
Retrieving Only New Records

Set the query execution option to 'Retrieve only the new records since query was last run.' Typically, a query that is being used as part of a recurring mailing should use this execution option to prevent a record from being returned/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.

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Formatting Numbers

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 modestly. This is the result of 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.

If it is desired to reformat the number to a specific number of digits following the decimal point, you can follow these steps to reformat the merge field:

  1. Right-click over the merge field in the Word document and select Toggle Field Codes.
  2. 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".
  3. Right-click the merge field and select Toggle Field Codes again to exit this edit mode.
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