Introduction

Mail Merge allows you to produce printable documents merged with details from Sage CRM, for example customer contact details, product details, and quote and order items.

Mail merge templates contain Sage CRM merge fields, which are placeholders for information from the CRM database that are inserted during a merge. For example, the merge field <<comp_name>> is replaced by an actual Company name when the merge between the template and the database data is executed.

The process of performing a mail merge is generally a speedy one - just a matter of seconds. However, there are times - for example if you merging a large amount of data or creating a large amount of merge records - when the process might take a little longer, perhaps sometimes up to a couple of minutes.

Mail Merge Factors

The length of time a mail merge takes is dependent on a number of factors:

The number of records being merged

If you are performing a mail merge to a large number of records (e.g. a list of companies for a marketing campaign), the merge will clearly take longer than if you are merging to a small number, or just a single record.

If you have to perform a merge to a large number of records, it might be a good idea to schedule the merge for a time when there is not a huge demand on system resources and when you will not require to perform another critical function for a couple of minutes.

Type of template

The type of template you are using may also have an effect on the length of time it takes for a merge to perform. For example, a one-page, text-only mail merge template will merge far quicker than a multi-page, graphic intensive document.

Your machine

The more memory (RAM) available on your machine, the faster the merge will be.

Real-World Examples

In-house testing produced the following results when merging a complex template with both text and images, with a file size of 2.15MB.

Bear in mind, the majority of templates used will be much smaller and less complex than the one used in this test. For example, the largest default template available out of the box is only 101KB in size.

 

Using complex 2.15MB template with graphics and text

 Windows 2008 32-bit machine, 2GB RAM

No. of Company Records

Preview only

Merge and Continue

1 Company Record

3 secs

3 secs

10 Company records

5 secs

45 secs

100 Company records

5 secs

60 secs

2500 Company records

5 secs

80 secs

Mail Merge Tips

So, if you do have to perform a mail merge with a large template to a large number of records, it is a good idea to be aware of some settings that can help manage the process.

If you know you are going to perform a large mail merge, you can boost the the amount of memory available by adjusting the Max Mail Merge Memory setting in Administration | Email and Documents | Documents and Reports Configuration. The default setting is 1GB, but this can be increased if required. Bear in mind that if you are running a 32-bit Java Virtual Machine (JVM), this limit cannot be increased over 2GB. However, there is almost no limit if you are running a 64-bit JVM. Your administrator should be able to let you know which of these you are running.

The number of users who can perform concurrent mail merges is set to a default maximum value of 5. However, this setting can also be increased from Administration | E-mail and Documents | Documents and Reports Configuration | Max Mail Merges Allowed.

Bear in mind that if this setting is increased, more memory will be required, so the Max Mail Merge Memory setting should also be increased.

So there you have a couple of hints that should make the mail merge process run smoother.

Happy merging!