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Printing merge letters

From: FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

Video: Printing merge letters

One very popular request from FileMaker users is the ability to print letters. And much like other applications, like Word, for example, FileMaker Pro supports Merge fields. If you navigate over to the Customer Welcome Letter, I'll show you an example of how this Merge field technique works. First, we'll need to go into Layout mode, and we're going to take a look at this layout and how it's set up. You see this layout has a standard Header/Footer part, but inside the Body we just have one big text area, which was created, initially, by choosing the Text tool and just picking an area onscreen and beginning to type.

Printing merge letters

One very popular request from FileMaker users is the ability to print letters. And much like other applications, like Word, for example, FileMaker Pro supports Merge fields. If you navigate over to the Customer Welcome Letter, I'll show you an example of how this Merge field technique works. First, we'll need to go into Layout mode, and we're going to take a look at this layout and how it's set up. You see this layout has a standard Header/Footer part, but inside the Body we just have one big text area, which was created, initially, by choosing the Text tool and just picking an area onscreen and beginning to type.

You'll notice we've got a couple of areas here where we've left blanks because we want to actually show field data. One way that we could do this is to drag a field, which we can do by choosing the Field tool and dragging the field right next to the area that we want to display the name, like so. And certainly that could work; as a matter of fact, if you look at it in Browse mode you can see that a value can show up. But what happens when we want to put information in between other text, or list data inside the Letter area and have it expand and contract based on how long the data is? Well, then these fields aren't going to work.

And plus, even in this case, they'd be a little difficult to work with. I'm going to go ahead and delete this field here, and I'm going to click inside the text area, and double-click on it so I can put my cursor in there. And instead, what I'm going to do, I'm going to go into the Insert menu, and at the very bottom you see there is a section here for Merge Field. When you select Insert > Merge Field, you see the familiar Specify Field window which allows you to pick a field from any table that's related to the current table that you're on.

When I hit OK we see now that the entire name has been placed inside of the text area, with double brackets on each side of it, which is a common way to denote Merge Field. Going back into Browse mode, saving our changes, we now see, as we move from record to record, that the first name Field data has been put inside of this, that the data from the first name field has been placed right next to Hello, and what's nice is it dynamically moves the position of the dash forward and backward, depending on the length of the data in the field.

Now what's nice about a Merge Field is we can treat it just like it's text. So, for example, if I wanted to select this and add some formatting to it, I would use the same formatting options as I do for formatting any other kind of text on the layout. Let's take a look at a couple of other areas where we can insert some Merge value. Let's put in the CompanyName here and get rid of some of these spaces.

And then down here, we're going to actually add the address, since that's what it indicates here. I want them to verify their shipping address. So we're going to treat it just like text, but we can say AddressStreet, and I'll hit Return, Insert > Merge Field, City, and now because it's like text, very similar to the one we are creating our label layouts and our envelope layouts, I can put a comma and a space, and I can insert another Merge Field after that for State, put another's couple of spaces and insert Zip.

Now when we go onto Browse mode and we cycle through the different records, we can see the addresses and the names update. But we don't see anything where we have the customer name. So if we go into Customer List and Find Matching Records, Show Omitted, it will give us a found set of records that have company names. Now we can go back and preview and see how those look. Thank you for signing up, and then we've got the name, and you'll notice that no matter how long the name is, it's actually wrapping the entire text from that paragraph around to the next line, which is a nice way to do this.

But also, we can apply some formatting, so we choose the name here and hit Bold. I can also maybe add other character there and go into Browse mode, and you see now we're able to create smart-looking, professional letters with dynamic data that's populated by a found set that we created in our customer table. So it's a good idea, when you're creating letter layouts, that you always use Merge fields; however, Merge fields can also be used anywhere else in a layout that you want a field value to be treated as text.

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This video is part of

Image for FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 14898 viewers

Cris Ippolite
Author

 
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  1. 7m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the FileMaker family
      2m 15s
    3. Using the FileMaker Quick Start screen
      2m 52s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 7s
  2. 21m 9s
    1. What is a database?
      2m 26s
    2. Flat vs. relational databases
      2m 29s
    3. How FileMaker works
      4m 48s
    4. Understanding the essential preferences
      3m 13s
    5. Touring the interface
      8m 13s
  3. 11m 44s
    1. Creating databases from templates
      2m 29s
    2. Creating new databases in the spreadsheet-like format
      5m 35s
    3. Importing tables
      3m 40s
  4. 9m 9s
    1. Determining which tables you will need
      5m 10s
    2. Creating tables in the Managing Tables window
      3m 59s
  5. 34m 47s
    1. Understanding relationship types
      6m 58s
    2. Diagramming relationships (with ER diagrams)
      8m 50s
    3. Determining which key fields you need
      5m 18s
    4. Defining primary and foreign keys
      7m 56s
    5. Creating relationships using the relationships graph and table occurrences
      5m 45s
  6. 50m 34s
    1. Deciding what fields you will need
      5m 34s
    2. Understanding field types
      7m 54s
    3. Defining fields
      9m 56s
    4. Using Auto Enter options in fields
      9m 33s
    5. Reviewing field validation options
      8m 16s
    6. Building with container fields
      9m 21s
  7. 14m 8s
    1. Creating and duplicating records
      5m 40s
    2. Editing and locking records
      4m 42s
    3. Deleting records and backing up files
      3m 46s
  8. 21m 6s
    1. Importing data
      9m 57s
    2. Importing records to refresh data
      7m 2s
    3. Exporting data
      4m 7s
  9. 18m 30s
    1. Understanding layouts
      4m 15s
    2. Using the Layout Assistant to create List views
      7m 59s
    3. Using the Layout Assistant to create labels and envelopes
      6m 16s
  10. 27m 11s
    1. Using the Layout Setup dialog box
      4m 54s
    2. Understanding layout parts
      4m 40s
    3. Understanding the new Inspector
      2m 26s
    4. Exploring the Status Area in Layout mode
      6m 46s
    5. Managing layouts and layout folders
      8m 25s
  11. 41m 9s
    1. Arranging, aligning, grouping, and locking layout objects
      11m 5s
    2. Placing and formatting objects, parts, and graphics
      4m 10s
    3. Formatting fields and applying field attributes
      8m 26s
    4. Setting field behaviors
      4m 4s
    5. Using the Tab Control feature
      9m 8s
    6. Setting tab order
      4m 16s
  12. 36m 48s
    1. Using the basic find functions
      7m 31s
    2. Reviewing new requests in the Find mode
      5m 54s
    3. Establishing search operators
      6m 43s
    4. Constraining or extending found sets
      3m 24s
    5. Finding records using date, time, or timestamp criteria
      5m 18s
    6. Using Fast Match and Quick Find
      4m 41s
    7. Working with saved finds
      3m 17s
  13. 17m 28s
    1. Sorting with one criterion
      6m 4s
    2. Sorting with related fields
      2m 18s
    3. Sorting with multiple criteria
      1m 36s
    4. Sorting using custom values
      3m 14s
    5. Sorting using buttons
      4m 16s
  14. 17m 14s
    1. Reviewing Field/Control styles
      5m 43s
    2. Creating and applying static value lists
      5m 20s
    3. Creating and applying dynamic value lists
      6m 11s
  15. 23m 52s
    1. Previewing pages and print options
      6m 20s
    2. Printing in different views
      2m 54s
    3. Sliding objects
      3m 26s
    4. Printing merge letters
      4m 53s
    5. Saving as a PDF or Excel file
      6m 19s
  16. 15m 1s
    1. Building simple reports with summary fields
      4m 36s
    2. Creating subsummary reports
      6m 51s
    3. Creating subsummary reports in Table view
      3m 34s
  17. 52m 19s
    1. Defining calculations
      2m 31s
    2. Exploring the Calculation dialog box
      5m 8s
    3. Using number functions
      12m 41s
    4. Using date and time functions
      4m 58s
    5. Using text functions
      11m 43s
    6. Using get functions
      4m 0s
    7. Using logic functions
      11m 18s
  18. 46m 56s
    1. Understanding scripts and script steps
      2m 23s
    2. Assigning script steps to buttons
      3m 54s
    3. Understanding the ScriptMaker dialog box
      8m 28s
    4. Creating multi-line scripts
      6m 44s
    5. Adding find criteria to a script
      4m 58s
    6. Understanding the If script step
      8m 36s
    7. Using script parameters
      4m 42s
    8. Reviewing the Send Mail option
      7m 11s
  19. 28m 0s
    1. Understanding script triggers
      2m 41s
    2. Using object-based triggers
      11m 58s
    3. Using layout-based triggers
      7m 51s
    4. Using file-based triggers (Open and Close scripts)
      5m 30s
  20. 56m 42s
    1. Using related fields
      7m 18s
    2. Creating portals and using portal filtering
      10m 38s
    3. Using related fields in calculations
      7m 6s
    4. Understanding multi-predicate relationships
      11m 11s
    5. Using the Go to Related Record script step
      7m 26s
    6. Creating a chart
      13m 3s
  21. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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