We are mindful that some of our customers are working with their own pre-existing templates in Microsoft Word, and do not want to remove the ability to perform mail merges with these templates.
However, while it is possible to perform merges with pre-existing Word templates, it is not possible to edit them via the Sage CRM rich text editor interface.
The objective of this document is to highlight the benefits of the Sage CRM mail merge feature and to offer some potential solutions to the issues described.
Mail Merge in Sage CRM
Sage CRM's Mail Merge feature is designed to allow all users to efficiently create merged documents from a number of Internet Browsers, without the need for a browser specific plug-in, and with data from any entity within CRM, including custom entities.
All of these key objectives were achieved.
- In Sage CRM mail merge is a server-side process, which means you no longer need to install an ActiveX plug-in to perform mail merges.
- The mail merge process is cross-browser compatible, which means you can now perform mail merges when working with Sage CRM in Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari.
- In a significant development, it is now possible to perform mail merges from newly created custom entities. Previously it was possible only to merge to the predefined set of core entities, which was restrictive and hampered some customer's business processes. The only simple prerequisite is that the newly created entity must have the Has Library and Has Communications check boxes selected.
- Many of the issues that were returned to us concerned the mail merge feature's reliance on Microsoft Word. End users simply found Word's native mail merge feature too complex and not intuitive enough to set up templates. To get around this, we did a lot of work around making the Sage CRM merge fields available to all users in Sage CRM's rich text editor. All users can now create new templates without the requirement to have MS Word installed
- In addition to this, a great deal of effort went into making nested items available from the context of Quote, Order and Opportunity entities. This means that users can now quickly and easily create templates that include line items, without having to have expert knowledge of Microsoft Word or the Sage CRM merge field infrastructure for child items!
- As stated earlier, it is still possible to use existing Microsoft Word templates to perform merges but due to the complexity of converting Word documents to HTML the ability to edit these templates "on the fly" was removed.
Converting Microsoft Word Templates to HTML
Users can convert their pre-existing templates to HTML, and then re-upload them to the Sage CRM server. Although this introduces some additional overhead, frontloading this effort will result in users being able to enjoy the many benefits of working with the new Sage CRM mail merge feature with their pre-existing Word templates converted to HTML.
Note: When working with the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers, it is possible to upload multiple documents/images at the same time.
To convert Word documents to HTML:
1. Open the Word template you want to convert.
2. Select File | Save As and select Web Page (*.htm, *.html) from the Save As Type drop-down menu.
Save As Web Page
3. Navigate to the location in Windows Explorer where you saved the HTML version of the template, right-click it and open it with a text editor program - something as simple as Notepad is fine.
Open with Notepad
4. In the text editor, replace the merge field tags (« and ») with « and » respectively.
Replace with «
Replace with »
5. In Sage CRM, upload any images that are in the Word template to the Sage CRM server.
To do this:
i. Navigate to the entity from which you want to carry out the merge and select New | Mail Merge.
ii. On the Select Or Create a New Template page, click the Add Local Template / Image button.
iii. Click the Browse button, and select the image file(s) you want to upload.
iv. Click Save. The image file you uploaded is now available for you to reference when you have uploaded your converted HTML template.
6. Now you can follow the same process to upload your converted HTML template.
i. On the Select Or Create a New Template page, click the Add Local Template / Image button.
ii. Click the Browse button, and select the template file(s) you want to upload.
iii. Click Save. The template file you uploaded is now available for you to reference when you have uploaded your converted HTML template.
You can now perform a mail merge using the uploaded HTML template.
To do this:
1. Click on the hyperlink of the newly converted template. The template will open in Sage CRM's rich text editor.
2. Add the image reference to the template where you would like the image to display. For example, if you want the logo to display on the top left of the merged document enter <img src="panoplylogo.png"> in the top left of the Sage CRM rich text editor.
Converted template in Sage CRM
You can now edit the template "on the fly" and perform your mail merge as before.