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Prompting for individual input with FILLIN

From: Word 2007: Mail Merge in Depth

Video: Prompting for individual input with FILLIN

In the previous two videos, we have used Fill in and Ask to be able to insert global information at the time of merge and then If Then to be able to provide different text to different users based on data that came from the data source. The final tool we are going to add to our portfolio is a specific use of Fill in. It allows us to provide different information to different letter recipients. The field that we want to deal with is called roll and in this case, Crystal at this meeting is going to be the timekeeper.

Prompting for individual input with FILLIN

In the previous two videos, we have used Fill in and Ask to be able to insert global information at the time of merge and then If Then to be able to provide different text to different users based on data that came from the data source. The final tool we are going to add to our portfolio is a specific use of Fill in. It allows us to provide different information to different letter recipients. The field that we want to deal with is called roll and in this case, Crystal at this meeting is going to be the timekeeper.

Our team has three different roles: the timekeeper role, the convener role, and the recorder role. Everyone else is an observer. So everyone has a role. It's just that three of them are specific and what we would like at the time of mail merge is to be prompted with each user and asked what's there role so that we don't have to add this to a data source. Let's see how we are going to do this. We will start by deleting the text that's here because it's constant text. And then we will choose Rules, and we are going to use Fill-in because it only appears in one place in the letter.

We will choose Fill-in and enter the prompt "Please enter the role" and the default role is that of Observer. So we will enter that default role. And we won't check the Ask once dialog box because we don't want be prompted only once; we want to be prompted with each letter. And now I am going to click OK. We are asked once and we will say OK, and that's simply so it can enter the field. If we Alt and hit F9, you will actually see all of the fields that appear in our letter.

Here is an address block from earlier and a merge field where it's inserting the first name and here is our long Fill-in field that we have just entered in this letter. I am actually going to go back to the Home tab with that text selected and remove the fill from it. Now when we merge this letter, we are not going to be satisfied with the results and I will tell you that right now but let me show you what happens if we go to Merge at this stage right now. We are going to go Mailings, go to Finish & Merge, Edit Individual Documents and rather than do all of our documents, we are just going to do the first three documents, from records 1 to record 3, and we will be prompted to enter our role when we say, well, okay, Observer is fine.

Then we are prompted for the second letter, but we don't know who these letters are to. We click OK again and we are prompted again and it doesn't really matter if we click OK or Cancel. The only thing to be grateful for here is the fact that there are only three letters. Because if there were 500, we would have to click OK or Cancel 500 times. And Crystal is assigned as an observer. Everyone is assigned as observer whether we clicked OK or Cancel because we couldn't tell what we are assigning. In order to really make a meaningful assignment, there is something else we have to do.

So I am going to go ahead and close this set of merge results and throw them away and you might have noticed we could use an extra line here under the date. So we will go do that right now as well. But what we would like to know is whose role are you asking me for? With the field code exposed, Alt+F9 shows them, we are going to enter more information here in the prompt. The prompt appears after the rule command FILLIN and between the two quotes, Please enter the role, and I am simply going to click before the closing quote and type for and another space and then we are going to insert the two merge fields that make up the full name.

First, a space, and the last field. So it says FILLIN Please enter the role for first and last name. The /d stands for default and the default is Observer. Now having added that additional information to the prompt for our Fill-in, let's go through and see how this merge would look when we execute it. Let's choose Finish & Merge, Edit Individual Documents and once again we will just do three records so you can get a feel for this.

When I click OK, it says Please enter the role for Crystal Dixon, and we know that Crystal is the Timekeeper for this meeting, and click OK. Now, please enter the role for Guy Cantu. And Guy is the Convener for this meeting and click OK. And Nora is simply an observer so we will click OK again and you will notice that here is Crystal as Timekeeper, Guy as Convener, and Nora serving as Observer for our meeting. I am going to go ahead and close our finished merge results because we don't need to keep them and discard them.

So this Fill-in field along with some tweaking for the prompts so that you can see who you are filling in it for is a very, very powerful tool. Now that we know how to use Fill-in and Ask globally, and we know how to use If and Fill-in more locally, you have a very powerful set of tools to be able to create customize letters using Word 2007. Have a great time using mail merge to save time in your work with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Word.

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Word 2007: Mail Merge in Depth

22 video lessons · 6322 viewers

Gini Courter
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