Mail Merge Fields

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Mail Merge Fields

This page describes all of the fields that are available for use in the mail merge letters.

 

This page includes the following subsections:

 

Common Donor and Organization Information (included in all types of letters)

Donor Information (added only to Donor Information letters)

Individual Donation Information

Total Donations Information

Pledge Information

Receipt Information (including Gift in Kind Receipts)

Specifying the DetailsTable (and related fields)

Controlling French and English use

Using If, Else and Endif to include optional text

Creating Reports instead of Letters (mail merge documents that include one or several lines per donor or donation etc., instead of separate pages for each)

 

 

Common Donor and Organization Information

 

First, the following fields are available no matter which of the radio buttons at the top of the Merge Letters or Merge One Letter window you select, because they are either about the donor, or are more general fields about your organization.

 

Please note that in all cases, if there is no information filled in to a given field, and it is used in a mail merge, it will just be replaced with nothing. Also, in the Merge Letters or Merge One Letter window these field names are displayed as is, but when they are inserted as merge fields in letters, they are surrounded by the double angle bracket characters, as in «Name».

 

OrgNameYour Organization Name, from Maintenance Organization Info
OrgName2Your Organization Name 2, from the same window
OrgAddress1Your organization's Address Line 1, from the same window
OrgAddress2Your organization's Address Line 2, from the same window
OrgAddress3Your organization's Address Line 3, from the same window
OrgPhoneYour organization's Phone number, from the same window
SignatoryNameThe Receipting Person from Maintenance Organization Info, which is generally filled in with something like "John Smith, Treasurer"

 

MemberEnvNumThe donor's Member/Envelope number
NameThe donor's Business Name, if that field is filled in, or otherwise the First Name and Last Name
FullNameThe donor's First Name and Last Name
BusinessNameThe donor's Business Name
LastNameThe donor's Last Name
FirstNameThe donor's Last Name
FullAddressThe donor's full address - all three lines, plus the postal code, with line breaks between each line of the address, so that it will display in a letter as an address block
Address1The donor's Address Line 1
Address2The donor's Address Line 2
Address3The donor's Address Line 3
PostCodeThe donor's Postal Code
PhoneThe donor's Phone number
EmailThe donor's Email address
Category1The donor's Category 1 field (which may display with a different heading in the Donor Details area of the main window, if you have set it up to do so in the Donor Details tab of the Maintenance Main Window Options window)
Category2The donor's Category 2 field (as for Category1)
PledgeThe donor's annual Pledge amount, or $0 if there was no pledge. (This field is omitted from Pledge Information merges, but added back in later in the list as either Annual Pledge or Current Pledge.)
CharitableNumThe donor's Charitable Number (which should only be filled in if the donor is a charity). Note that for Receipt Information letters, there is also a CharitableNumber field, which is your organization's charitable number. (Sorry for any confusion this may cause!)
OtherInfo1The donor's Other Info 1 (which may display with a different heading in the Donor Details area of the main window, if you have set it up to do so in the Donor Details tab of the Maintenance Main Window Options window)
OtherInfo2The donor's Other Info 2 (as for Other Info 1)
OtherInfo3The donor's Other Info 3 (as for Other Info 1)
OtherInfo4The donor's Other Info 4 (as for Other Info 1)
OtherInfo5The donor's Other Info 5 (as for Other Info 1)
OtherInfo6The donor's Other Info 6 (as for Other Info 1)

 

Year_NumberThe current year that you are working on in DONATION, for example 2016
TodayToday's date (which you may want to use as the date of the mail merge letters)
if:FIELDNAMESee details below
elseSee details below
endifSee details below
NoPageBreaksTells the Letters Mass Mailing routine not to put page breaks between the merged information for successive donors, donations or receipts that are being merged, so that you can create a report rather than letters. See below for details.

 

All currency fields display in mail merge letters in your currency format as set in Control Panel (the same way they display when you are entering them, and on other reports). All date fields display in a format like "December 31, 2016", subject to changes for French and English (see below).

 

You will note that if you change the labels for the donor Category 1 or 2 fields or the Other Info 1 through 6 fields in the Maintenance Main Window Options window, the relevant mail merge field names do not change. Why? Suppose you had changed the label of Category 1 to "Membership Status", and the program then allowed you to use a merge field «MembershipStatus». What if you then decide to again change the label for Category 1, to just "Membership"? Any mail merge document using «MembershipStatus» would then be broken, because there was no longer a field with that name! So the mail merge fields for these donor details fields always have the standard names, Category1 or Category2, or OtherInfo1 through OtherInfo6, as listed above.

 

Donor Information

 

The following fields are added to the base Donor fields, when you select "Donor Information only":

 

TotalAmountThe total amount of all donations this year for this donor. This can be used for Filtering, for example to mail  only to those donors who have not yet donated this year (for whom the TotalAmount will be 0).
OutstandingAmountThe annual Pledge amount (or 0, if it is not filled in for this donor) minus the TotalAmount. This will be a positive number if to donor has not yet fulfilled their pledge, 0 if they have exactly fulfilled their pledge, and a negative number if they have given more than their pledge. It can be used in Letters Mass Mailing, with some Filtering, to create and use custom letters for things like "You still owe $X on your pledge of $Y" etc. See Pledges in DONATION for more information on pledges.
 
Note: It is probably better to use the Pledge Information type of mail-merge letter if you want to report on pledges, as it has more appropriate fields. This OutstandingAmount field is only included because it was available before the Pledge Information type of letter was added (in version 3.35 of DONATION), and we do not want to remove this option and break any existing letters that users have designed!
LastYearAmountThe total amount of all donations last year for this donor, or $0 if there were none.

 

 

Individual Donation Information

 

The following fields are added to the common Donor and Organization fields, when you select "Current Donation Information" in Merge One Letter, or "Individual Donation Information" in Merge Letters:

 

DonationDateThe Date of the donation
DonationAmountThe Amount of the donation (or Total Amount, if you have chosen to display the Eligible Amount field in the Donations tab of Maintenance Main Window Options). For more details on the three amount fields available for merging, see the discussion in the page on Entering New Donations.
EligibleAmountThe Eligible Amount of the donation, if you have chosen to display and enter that field, or the Total Amount otherwise
AdvantageAmountThe amount of advantage of the donation, which is the Total Amount minus the Eligible Amount. It will always be zero if you are not using Eligible Amounts.
DonationCategoryThe Category of the donation
DonationChequeNoThe Cheque # / Paid By value for the donation. However, if it is an actual cheque number that you have entered there, for example 123, this field is replaced by either "cheque number 123" or "check number 123", depending on whether you are in Canada or the U.S.A. respectively. That allows for wording in your letters like "You paid this donation by «DonationChequeNo».", which would end up sounding odd if only "123" was substituted for the merge field.
DonationDescriptionThe Description from the donation, if there is one.
YTDTotalAmountThe total amount of all donations this year for this donor.
AppraisierNameIf you have filled in an appraiser (by clicking on the drop-down arrow on the Description field, which appears only if the appropriate checkbox in the Donations tab of the Maintenance Main Window Options window has been selected), the Appraiser Name will be filled into this field.
AppraiserAddressIf you have filled in an appraiser, their complete address, with line breaks between each line of the address, so that it will display in a letter as an address block

 

Note: The following three fields will only be filled in if the current donation has been included in a receipt.

 

ReceiptDateThe date of the receipt that this donation is included in.
ReceiptNumThe receipt number (for example 2016-00001) of the receipt that this donation is included in
ReceiptTypeThe type of receipt that this donation is included in, for example nothing (for original receipts) or "DUPLICATE RECEIPT", or "CORRECTED RECEIPT" for users in countries other than Canada (including the U.S.A.) For Canada, see Replacement or Correction Receipts for Canada for details of how this works.

 

Please note that although the inclusion of the last three fields above mean that the Current Donation Information or Individual Donation Information letters could in theory be used to replicate a receipt (or prepare a cover letter for a receipt), that would only be appropriate for receipts that only include one donation in them. And in addition, this provides no real advantage over using the Selected Receipt Information or Receipt Information Only options, which include even more fields that are helpful in relation to receipts.

 

 

Total Donations Information

 

The following fields are added to the common Donor and Organization fields, when you select "Total Donations Information" in either window. Please note that when you click Merge after selecting this option, you are prompted for a range of dates to report on (default the whole current year). The Amount fields, and the Details and Summary Tables, are restricted to that specified range of dates.

 

TotalAmountThe total of the Amount (or Total Amount) values of all donations within the given range of dates, for the given donor. (See more details on the three amount fields under Individual Donation Information above.)
EligibleAmountThe total of the Eligible Amount values of all donations within the given range of dates, for the given donor. When there is no Eligible Amount entered for a given donation, the Amount or Total Amount is used.
AdvantageAmountThe total amount of the advantage of all donations within the given range of dates. The advantage is the Total Amount minus the Eligible Amount.
OutstandingAmountThe annual Pledge amount (or 0, if it is not filled in for this donor) minus the TotalAmount. This will be a positive number if to donor has not yet fulfilled their pledge, 0 if they have exactly fulfilled their pledge, and a negative number if they have given more than their pledge. It can be used in Letters Mass Mailing, with some Filtering, to create and use custom letters for things like "You still owe $X on your pledge of $Y" etc. See Pledges in DONATION for more information on pledges.
Note: It is probably better to use the Pledge Information type of mail-merge letter if you want to report on pledges, as it has more appropriate fields. This OutstandingAmount field is only included because it was available before the Pledge Information type of letter was added (in version 3.35 of DONATION), and we do not want to remove this option and break any existing letters that users have designed!
LastYearAmountThe total amount of all donations last year for this donor, or $0 if there were none.

StartDate                The start of the date range selected for this merge

EndDateThe end of the date range selected for this merge
DetailsTableA table of the individual donations within the given range of dates, making up the the totals, similar to the table shown in the standard built-in receipts. See below for more details.
SummaryTableA table of the totals by category of the donations within the given range of dates, similar to the table shown in the standard built-in receipts. The columns are Amount (which is the Total Amount) and Category.

 

 

Pledge Information

 

The following fields are added to the common Donor and Organization Fields, when you select "Pledge Information" in either window. There is no prompt for a range of dates for Pledge Information letters - they always report on the entire pledge period.

 

Which pledge fields are added depends on which type of pledging you have selected on the Pledges tab of Maintenance Main Window Options.

 

The interpretation of the fields below (except for the Multi-Year type) also depends on the value of the "Pledges are on a fiscal year basis" checkbox in that window - if it is checked, then all values and tables created by fields below are based on your fiscal year as specified in the Maintenance Organization Info window.

 

Simple Annual Pledge type (this is the default type)

 

AnnualPledgeThe Annual Pledge amount specified in the Donor Details area for the donor.
PledgePaidThe total of all donations during the year, which are considered to fulfill the pledge with this type of pledging. (For Canadian users, if an Eligible Amount is specified for a given donation, it is used instead of the Total Amount.)
PledgeOutstandingThe AnnualPledge minus the PledgePaid. However, if the pledge has been overpaid (the total donations exceeded the pledge amount), this will always show as $0, not a negative number.
DetailsTableA table of all individual donations making up the PledgePaid amount. See below for more details.

 

Annual with Start Date and Category type

 

CurrentPledgeThe Pledge Amount specified on the popup window for entering the pledge details, and redisplayed in the Donor Details area.
PledgeStartDateThe Start Date for the pledge, specified on the same popup window.
PledgeCategoryThe donation category for the pledge (or 'All Categories'), specified on the same popup window.
PledgePaidThe total of all donations for the specified pledge category, and starting on the specified start date, which are the ones considered to fulfill the pledge with this type of pledging. (For Canadian users, if an Eligible Amount is specified for a given donation, it is used instead of the Total Amount.)
PledgeOutstandingThe CurrentPledge minus the PledgePaid. However, if the pledge has been overpaid (the total relevant donations exceeded the pledge amount), this will always show as $0, not a negative number.
DetailsTableA table of all individual donations making up the PledgePaid amount. See below for more details.
DetailsTableAllCategoriesA table of all individual donations for all donation categories, for the entire year, whether or not they are part of making up the PledgePaid amount. See below for more details.
TotalAmountAllCategoriesThe total of the donations listed in the DetailsTableAllCategories field's table.

 

Multi-Year type

 

CurrentPledgeThe Pledge Amount for the current year, as specified in the table of year-by-year pledge amounts on the popup window for entering the pledge details, and redisplayed in the Donor Details area.
TotalPledgeThe Pledge Total amount for the entire multi-year pledge period, as specified on the same popup window.
PledgeStartDateThe Start Date for the pledge, specified on the same popup window.
PledgeYearsThe number of years for the pledge, specified on the same popup window.
PledgeEndDateThe End Date for the pledge, calculated on the same popup window from the Start Date and Years selections (and affected by the "First pledge is for an entire year" setting).
PledgeCategoryThe donation category for the pledge (or 'All Categories'), specified on the same popup window.
PledgeFrequencyThe frequency that the donor intends to donate towards the pledge (shown as an adverb, for example "annually" etc.), specified on the same popup window.
PledgePaidThe total of all donations for the specified pledge category, within the range of the start date and end date, but only in the current  year. (For Canadian users, if an Eligible Amount is specified for a given donation, it is used instead of the Total Amount.)
PledgeOutstandingThe CurrentPledge minus the PledgePaid. However, if the pledge has been overpaid in the current year (the total relevant donations exceeded the pledge amount), this will always show as $0, not a negative number.
TotalPledgePaidThe total of all donations for the specified pledge category, within the range of the start date and end date, in all years of the pledge period. As with PledgePaid, the Eligible Amount is used for Canadian users if it is relevant.
TotalPledgeOutstandingThe TotalPledge minus the TotalPledgePaid, again showing $0 if the pledge has been overpaid over the entire period.
DetailsTableA table of all individual donations making up the PledgePaid amount (in the current year only). See below for more details.
DetailsTableAllYearsA table of all individual donations making up the Total PledgePaid amount (in all years). See below for more details.
PledgeYearsTableA table of the year-by-year pledge amounts specified in the popup window, showing Year and Pledge as the column headings.

 

Note: in most cases you would probably choose to include only one of the DetailsTable and DetailsTableAllYears fields in any one mail-merge letter, although the sample letter provided with the program includes both.

 

 

Receipt Information or Gift in Kind Receipt Information

 

The following fields are added to the common Donor and Organization Fields, when you select "Selected Receipt Information" in Merge One Letter, or "Receipt Information" in Merge Donors, or "Gift in Kind Receipt Information" in either one. (Note that this last option only appears if you have selected the option for different receipts for Gift in Kind donations in the Maintenance Receipt Options window.)

 

ReceiptAmountThe total amount of the receipt (the sum of the Total Amounts of all donations included in the receipt)
EligibleAmountThe eligible amount of the receipt (the sum of the Eligible Amounts of all donations included in the receipt)
AdvantageAmountThe amount of the advantage in the receipt (the sum of the Advantage Amounts of all donations included in the receipt)
ReceiptDateThe date the receipt was issued
ReceiptNumThe receipt number (for example 2016-00001)
ReceiptTypeThe type of receipt that this donation is included in, for example nothing (for original receipts) or "DUPLICATE RECEIPT", or "CORRECTED RECEIPT" for users in countries other than Canada (including the U.S.A.) For Canada, see Replacement or Correction Receipts for Canada for details of how this works.
YTDTotalAmountThe total of all Total Amounts of all donations included in all receipts for this donor, not just the current receipt. Note: This field and the two following fields, which are related, should probably seldom be used on merge letters being used as receipts, because they could be confusing to the donors.
YTDEligibleAmountThe total of all Eligible Amounts of all donations included in all receipts for this donor, not just the current receipt

YTDAdvantageAmount The total of all Advantage Amounts of all donations included in all receipts for this donor, not just the current receipt

LocationThe Location the receipts were issued in, which is entered in Maintenance Receipt Options. This needs to be printed on all Canadian receipts.
CharitableNumberYour organization's charitable number, from Maintenance Organization Info. For Canadian organizations, this is your Charity BN / Registration #, and it must be included on all receipts. For U.S. organizations, this is your Tax ID / EIN (and it is optional whether to include it on receipts). For Australian DGR organizations, this is your ABN number. For New Zealand organizations, this your Charities Commission Number.
Note: This field is different from the CharitableNum field, which is the donor's charitable number, if the donor is a charity.

 

 

The following field is only added for Receipt Information merges, and only when the Receipt Style / Location you selected in the Maintenance Receipt Options window is set to "U.S.A.":

 

ReligiousBenefitSet to "Y" if you checked the radio button for "Donors receive an intangible religious benefit" in the Options for U.S.A. Only section of the Receipt Options window, and empty otherwise. This can be used with the «if:FIELDNAME», «else» and «endif» fields to introduce variations in the wording on the receipts.

 

The following fields are only added for Receipt Information merges, and only when the Receipt Style / Location you selected allows for Fiscal Year Receipting:

 

Fiscal"Magic" field, set to "Y" if the current working year for data entry and receipting is a fiscal year, and empty otherwise. For use in code such as «if:Fiscal»text related to fiscal years«else»text related to regular calendar years«endif»
YearOrYearEndThe fiscal year end date if the current working year for data entry and receipting is a fiscal year, or just the year number if the current working year is a calendar year.

 

The following four fields are only added for Receipt Information merges:

 

DonationDateOrYrPromptThe text "Date of donation" for receipts that include only one donation, or "Year of donations" for receipts that include multiple donations. The wording changes appropriately to French only or bilingual French and English if you your "Receipt Style / Location" is set to one of the Quebec options in the Maintenance Receipt Options window.
DonationDateOrYrThe date of the donation for receipts that include only one donation, or the year of the donation for receipts that include multiple donations.
MultipleDonationsThis is a sort of "magic" field. For receipts that include only one donation, nothing will appear if you include the field «MultipleDonations» in a receipt template; for receipts that include multiple donations, "Y" will appear (without the quotes). By itself that isn't useful. But if you use code such as:
«if:MultipleDonations»text related to multiple donations«else»text related to single donations«endif»
(using the if/else/endif codes described below) you can include variable text in your receipts based on whether there is one or more donation included in the receipt!

DetailsTable        A table of the individual donations included in this receipt, similar to the table shown in the standard built-in receipts. See below for more details.

SummaryTableA table of the totals by category of the donations included in this receipt, similar to the table shown in the standard built-in receipts. The columns are Amount (which is the Total Amount) and Category.

 

The following fields are only added for Gift in Kind Receipt Information:

 

DonationDateThe Date of the Gift in Kind donation included in this receipt
DonationDescriptionThe Description of the Gift in Kind donation included in this receipt
AppraisierNameIf you have filled in an appraiser for this donation (by clicking on the drop-down arrow on the Description field, which appears only if the appropriate checkbox in the Donations tab of the Maintenance Main Window Options window has been selected), the Appraiser Name will be filled into this field.
AppraiserAddressIf you have filled in an appraiser for this donation, their complete address, with line breaks between each line of the address, so that it will display in a letter as an address block

 

 

 

Specifying the Details Table

 

When you select to insert the DetailsTable field for either Total Donations Information or Receipt Information, a Select Donation Fields window comes up on which you can specify which columns you want to appear in the table. The three normally included fields for receipts, Date, TotalAmount and Category, are already displayed in the Fields to Display list on the right. The other available fields for this table (EligibleAmount, AdvantageAmount, ChequeNo and Description) are in the Available Fields list on the left. Select additional fields to display, if desired, by clicking on them in the list on the left and clicking the Add button. You can also change the order of the fields in the list on the right by clicking on a field and clicking the Move Up or Move Down buttons.

 

You can also, optionally, check the "Display 2 groups of columns of donations" checkbox, as long as you have only selected to display the standard 3 fields in the table. If you do that, the headings of the table will be something like "Date Amount Category  Date Amount Category", i.e. two donations will be shown on each row. This will save space in the letter or receipt.

 

The available fields differ slightly for the DetailsTable for Pledge mail merge letters - see below for details.

 

Once you have made your selections, click OK in this window to insert the field into your document. It will display as something like this (if you included only the three default columns):

 

«DetailsTable:Date,TotalAmount,Category»

As you can see, what appears is the main merge field name ("DetailsTable"), followed by a colon, followed by a comma-separated list of the selected columns for that table. You can also hand-edit that merge field in the letter if you are careful. However, if you want to change the list of columns in the table, the easiest thing is to delete the entire merge field, then re-enter it from the list of insertable fields at the top of the window.

If you do check the "Display 2 groups of columns of donations" checkbox, the generated field will be:

«DetailsTable:Date,TotalAmount,Category;2column»

The ";2column" is a code indicating to show two groups of columns on each row. If you are careful, and think the table will still fit across the page, you can actually enter that code yourself, after the list of fields in a «DetailsTable» code, even if you are using more than the three standard fields. (The program won't let you select that option in the Select Donation Fields window if you have selected additional fields.)

Note: the Date column in the details table appears in a format like "Dec 31, 2016", to keep it relatively short so that more columns can fit into the table. However, that can be changed to use the Windows Short Date style set in Control Panel's Regional and Language Options tool if you check "Use Windows short dates for Details sections" in the Maintenance Receipt Options window.

DetailsTables for Pledge Information merges

For the Pledge Information type mail merges, the DetailsTable and DetailsTableAllYears fields work almost exactly the same way as described above, with the popup window for selecting fields. However, because for Canadian users the Eligible Amount of a donation (when specified) is always considered to be the amount that fulfills a pledge, there is no reason to include the distinct TotalAmount, EligibleAmount and AdvantageAmount fields in the options for this table. Thus, only an Amount field is used. So the default three fields become Date, Amount and Category.

Those two tables only ever list donations that go towards fulfilling the pledge.

For the pledge type Annual with Start Date and Category, the DetailsTableAllCategories field is also available. It behaves exactly like the DetailsTable field for Total Donations Information letters, listing all donations for all categories, whether or not they go towards fulfilling the pledge. It always shows the donations for the entire year (calendar year, or fiscal year if you have selected to have pledges be for fiscal years), and always shows the total amount (never the Eligible Amount). For that same pledge type, the TotalAmountAllCategories field is also available, which will give the total of the donations shown in the DetailsTableAllCategories field's table.

Changing the Font Size for the Details and Summary Tables

All of the current versions of the mail-merge receipts and letters that include details or summary tables have code in them that sets the font size in those tables to 12pt. However, that code unfortunately tends to disappear if you ever edit the templates in Microsoft Word, so you might need to know how to restore it. Alternatively, you might need to find and edit it, if you want to change that point size. If you need to restore or edit it, use the Actions View/Edit Source in Notepad menu option or corresponding toolbar button, from the mail-merge editor, to bring the code for that document up in the Windows text editor program Notepad.

Near the top of the file, you will see a section under a line containing "<style>". Look for two lines like:

table.DetailsTable td, table.DetailsTable th, table.SummaryTable td, table.SummaryTable th
 {font-size: 12pt;}

(You may alternatively see a variation on that, splitting it out into more lines.) If you see those lines, and want to change the font size, just change wherever it says "12pt". If those lines are absent, add them in, and again change the point size if you wish.

Save that change in Notepad (with the File Save menu option) then exit Notepad. That will return you to the built-in editor, which will give you a message saying that the file has been changed, and prompting you to reload it. Answer Yes.

That will not change the apparent size of the mail-merge fields for the details or summary tables in the editor, but it will change the font on actual merged tables when you do your merge. (Changing the size of the merge fields for the tables directly in the built-in editor actually does nothing to change the merged results, although you might hope otherwise!)

Varying Languages in the Details and Summary Tables

Normally the column headings in these tables are in English or French (or both) depending on the selection you make in the Maintenance Receipt Options window. If those are the languages you are using, please ignore the rest of this sub-section!

It is possible to override the normal wordings in English or French to support other languages, but only with these mail-merge fields - not for the built-in receipts that are not done by mail-merge.

To do that language overriding, you need to edit the DONATION.INI file which is in the program's Data Directory, with a text-editing program such as Notepad (do not use a Word Processor!). Find the section in that text file headed by:

[Database:extension]

where extension is replaced by the file extension on the database you are making these changes for. Normally that is DB if you only have one database (so you would be looking for "[Database:DB]"), but if you are Switching Databases, you will have multiple extensions and may need to make these changes for each of them (if they are all using the same language).

Under that heading, you need to add lines such as:

DateHeading=Date
CategoryHeading=Category
TotalAmountHeading=Total Amount
AmountHeading=Amount
EligibleAmountHeading=Eligible Amount
AdvantageAmountHeading=Value of Advantage
ChequeNoPaidByHeading=Cheque No. / Paid By
DescriptionHeading=Description

The values on the left of the equals signs must be exactly as shown above; the values on the right are whatever you want in your language to replace the sample English-language headings list above. The TotalAmountHeading, EligibleAmountHeading and AdvantageAmountHeading are only for if you are doing split receipting as in Canada, otherwise only AmountHeading is used.

The first list above is all the ones that can be used for the DetailsTable and DetailsTableAllYears. Only AmountHeading and CategoryHeading in that list above are used in the SummaryTable. (You don't need to repeat them twice!)

 

 

Using «French» and «English» to Force the Language for Dates

There are two special fields that you can insert anywhere near the top of a mail merge letter or receipt: «French» and «English». Inserting either one forces all dates printed in the merged letter or receipt to be in that language. This can serve as an override of the setting of the Use French Dates checkbox in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window.

 

 

Using «if:FIELDNAME», «else» and «endif»

There are three special technical fields, «if:FIELDNAME», «else» and «endif», which can be used to eliminate irrelevant contents from a mail merge letter or receipt, if a given field's value is empty (or $0.00, for amounts), or optionally provide alternative content if it is empty. You must always replace FIELDNAME with the name of another field on the drop-down list of fields for this type of letter, as listed above. (You can't do this with the field names "DetailsTable" or "SummaryTable", though.)

If you are wondering, "endif" is a common computer programming term for the end of a section that start with "if".

It's easiest to understand these new special fields via an example. For now we will use only «if:FIELDNAME» and «endif». You might have a section of a letter or receipt such as:

Envelope #: «MemberEnvNum»

The problem with this is that if you don't use Member/Envelope numbers, or you do use them but the current donor doesn't have one, the "Envelope #:" part will still show up in the merged letter. It would be better if it disappeared in those cases. To do that, surround it with the «if:FIELDNAME» and «endif» fields from the drop-down list, so that that section reads as follows:

«if:FIELDNAME»Envelope #:«endif» «MemberEnvNum»

Then, you need to change "FIELDNAME" to the field we are really testing for being empty, "MemberEnvNum". Change it to:

«if:MemberEnvNum»Envelope #:«endif» «MemberEnvNum»

Now, when you merge this letter, if the current donor has no Member/Envelope #, the "Envelope #:" part will be removed. If the donor does have a Member/Envelope #, it will be left in. Note that you don't need to surround the actual field «MemberEnvNum» with these special codes, because if the donor has no Member/Envelope # this will be replaced with nothing anyways. (Though no harm would be done by including it within the "if" section.)

There's a slight difference if you use this with amount fields, such as «DonationAmount». That field is never empty, though it might be $0.00. So its value will always be included in a letter that includes that field. If you want it to be removed if its value is $0.00, you can use the same technique, as in:

«if:DonationAmount»Amount: «DonationAmount»«endif»

If you use those codes, then when the donation amount is $0, nothing from the line above will be included in the letter.

Using «else»:

The «else» field can optionally be used between «if:FIELDNAME» and «endif» to provide alternative content. For instance, suppose you want to address a letter to people's first names (like "Dear Dan"), but for a few donors, there is a special nickname you wish to address them as, that should not be what you enter in the official First Name field. You could name one of the six renameable Other Info fields "Salutation" via the Main Window Options window, and fill it in only for those users with salutations different from their first names. Then the use the following in your letter:

Dear «if:Other1»«Other1»«else»«FirstName»«endif»,

That's assuming it was Other Info 1 that you renamed to Salutation, of course. That section of codes means that if the Other Info 1 (Salutation) field is filled in, it will be used. Otherwise, the First Name field will be used.

Tip for Techies Only: There is a minor complication using these codes when you are editing text that is in an HTML table, such as in our default layouts for mail-merged receipts. In that case, the prompt for a field (such as "Envelope #:") is generally in one cell of the table, while the field itself (such as "«MemberEnvNum»") is generally in an adjoining cell. If you wanted to make both the prompt and the field disappear if the Member/Envelope # field was empty for that donor, you would have to be careful. (Technically, you don't need to make «MemberEnvNum» disappear, because if it's empty nothing prints anyways, but this is just an example.)

In this case, if you put "«if:MemberEnvNum»" before the prompt, which is in one table cell, and "«endif»" after the MemberEnvNum field itself, which is in another table cell, then if the stuff between them is removed because there is no Member/Envelope #, you will also be removing the HTML codes that separates the two cells, and thus possibly ruining the layout of the table. To prevent this, if things appear to be in rows and columns (i.e. in a table), be sure to surround each individual section (table cell contents) with those codes, so each one is eliminated individually, without causing this type of problem.

 

Creating Reports instead of Letters

By using «NoPageBreaks» at the very top of your document file, you can tell the mail merge routine to skip its normal insertion of page breaks between successive donor, donation or receipt records that it is merging. This allows you to create reports, or things like directories, instead of letters.

To make this work even better, there are two special «if:» fields you can use: «if:FIRST» and «if:LAST», each of which has to be paired with «endif» as usual. Whatever is enclosed in «if:FIRST» and «endif» will only be included in the output for the first record being merged. Whatever is enclosed in «if:LAST» and «endif» will only be included in the output for the very last record being merged. This, in essence, allows you to create a header section and footer section for the report that you are creating in this way.

Tip for Techies Only: If you want each record in the report to be one row of an HTML table, you may not be able to create what you want in just the built-in HTML editor. You may need to use Actions ⇒ View/Edit Source in Notepad in the built-in editor, to edit the HTML in Notepad, in order to get this right. What you want to end up with is something like this:

<HEAD>...</HEAD>
<BODY>
«NoPageBreaks»«if:FIRST»<p>Any Header Section you want.</p>
<table>
<tr><th>Column 1 Heading</th><th>Column 2 Heading</th><th>Column 3 Heading</th></tr>
<tr valign="top">«endif»
<td>«FirstField»</td>
<td>«SecondField»</td>
<td>«ThirdField»</td>
«if:LAST»</tr></table>
<p>Any Footer Section you want.</p>
«endif»</BODY>

This is a report with header and footer sections, and a table with three cells (columns) per row. There's a row of headers for the table at the top, and a data field in each of the cells of the table. (Of course, you replace "FirstField" by a real field name, etc.) Be sure to use the Actions Show Table Borders on Screen menu option in the built-in editor to help you see where the table cells are and edit within them. (Those borders will not show when you print the merged report.)

Please note that if this report goes onto a 2nd or subsequent pages when you print it, the column headers (if you have any) will not be repeated. As the information above says, the «if:FIRST» and «if:LAST» section are done only once for the whole report, not once per page. We unfortunately cannot see any way to improve on this, with the technology we are using to do these mail merges.

Of course, this is not the only way to create custom reports - you would usually do that via the Reports Custom Report menu option. But this way of creating custom reports via mail merge yields something that is further editable in your word processor, and in some ways gives you more control, for example over the headers, footers, and layout, than a Custom Report. (Mind you, you can also save any report to a file, including Custom Reports, and edit it in Excel or a word processor.)