A merge template can be built and then used to generate merge documents from your site. For example, if you send award letters to each grantee/scholarship recipient, you could create a merge template of that letter and then generate customized award letters using that template.
A merge template starts as a Word document with your templated content (e.g. the award letter content). You then copy and paste merge fields into the template. Those merge fields tell the system what data you want to pull from your site into the template when generating merge documents with the template. In other words, the system merges data from your site into those fields.
In our award letter example, you might include merge fields for the applicant's name, the amount awarded, and the process name, so that information automatically populates in the letters.
Build a Merge Template
- Prepare the document that you'd like to use as the merge template. The templated content (e.g. the award letter content) should be ready to go before you begin the next steps.
- Click Communications, then click Merge Templates.
- Select the process for which you'd like to generate merge fields.
- For example, if you're creating an award letter template for your Spring Process, you'd select the Spring Process. This ensures that the merge fields you copy and paste into your template will pull the intended information for requests in that process.
- Click Generate Merge Fields.
- A document should have downloaded in your browser (named something similar to "Fields-Spring Grant Process"), which you can then click to open. This document contains all the available merge fields related to the process you selected. Please see the Merge Fields Explained section below for more details on this document and what it contains.
- Highlight and copy a desired merge field within the Fields document.
- Paste (do not use the "Keep Text Only" option when pasting) the copied field into your template exactly where you'd like the information from that field to populate. Continue adding all desired merge fields, being mindful of spaces and punctuation surrounding the merge fields.
- When pasting the field, it's important to not use the "Keep Text Only" option, as that removes the field code in the background. See the info box after Step 11 for more information on field codes.
- Save the changes you made to your Word document merge template.
- Back in your GLM or SLM site on the Merge Templates page, click Add New Template, then select the template file from your computer.
- Name the template, enter an optional Description, then click Save.
- The Name becomes the file name when generating merge documents using this template. Be mindful of this if you intend to attach documents to an applicant's request using this template.
- The Description is for internal purposes, and can help you remember specifics of the intended use for this template.
- The document now appears in your list of available merge templates, and can be used to generate merge documents from your site.
Merge Fields Explained
When you generate the merge fields for a process, note that some sections of fields are not process-specific. For example, the Primary Contact section contains fields from the registration pages. If you only include fields in your merge template that are not process-specific, that merge template can be used to generate documents for requests in any process.
Other sections of fields are process-specific. Keep in mind when generating a merge document, it's generated for a request within a certain process. If the merge template you use includes process-specific merge fields, data will only populate in those fields if they exist with a matching field code in the process for that request.
Let's say that you include an "Amount Requested" field from your Spring Process application form in a merge template. You realize that you'd like to use this merge template for your Fall Process as well. If you copied your Spring Process to create the Fall Process (and kept the Amount Requested field on the Fall Process application), you could use that same merge template to generate documents for both processes. That's because the field code for the Amount Request field (meaning the code behind the Amount Requested merge field) is the same for both processes as the Fall Process was created as a copy of the Spring Process.