Mail Merges from EE7 or RE7

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If you can't get the Mail Module to do exactly what you want, you can create completely customized mail merges with an export from EE7 or RE7 and a little work in Microsoft Word. It's quick (once you learn how), satisfying, and good for the digestion.

Before you start

The Mail Module

Did you know that EE7, RE7, and FE7 have a Mail Module that might make your life easier? It can easily handle tasks such as mailing labels, envelopes, and nametags.

Before building a mail merge from scratch, take a look in Blackbaud's help files (available in the Help menu of any of the Blackbaud databases) and search for Mail Module. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Alternatives to building your own

You can also build a mail merge with Blackbaud's mail merge wizards. Blackbaud's online Knowledgebase has instructions on setting this up. If you don't already have a blackbaud.com login, submit a Tech Support Request -- you'll need one to view their instructions.

  • How to create a simple mail merge in Export (BB199112)
  • How to create a conditional mail merge in Export (BB199113)

Preparation

Exporting from EE7 or RE7

  1. The first step is to set up and run an export. For the purposes of this article, we assume you've already set up your export. If you haven't, see Exports in EE7 and RE7.
  2. Run your export.
    • Save to a location in your My Documents folder where you'll be able to find it later.
    • Give it a name that makes sense.
      Export 8.png

Creating a letter merge?

  • If you're intending to add personalization to a letter, you'll probably want to have the text of the letter already written before you begin this process. That way you can place your merge fields into the correct spots in the letter.
  • If you are creating a letter merge, you should build the merge into the typed letter. Begin with that document open rather than a blank document.

The Mail Merge Wizard

Before starting the process below, you should be aware that you can also create a mail merge via MS Word's Mail Merge Wizard. To start the Wizard, click Mailings > Start Mail Merge > Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard...
Word mail merge wizard.png
The Wizard helps you by placing instructions on the right side of your document, as seen above. However, a few steps of the Wizard are a bit confusing, you may need to switch from the Wizard to the Ribbon anyway in order to accomplish a few necessary tasks, and you'll actually use more clicks in the Wizard than with the steps below.

That said, you're welcome to try the Wizard if you feel more comfortable with it. If you do, you'll quickly notice the similarities to the steps below as you progress through your merge.

Creating the merge

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Click the Mailings Tab on the Ribbon.
    Word mail merge 1.png

Select document type and set up document

  • If you are creating a letter, skip this section and go straight to "Select data source"
  1. Make a new document if necessary (Ctrl-N).
  2. Click the Mailings tab.
  3. Select the type of document you are creating:
    Word mail merge 2.png

Labels

  • If you are creating labels, the Label Options window will appear. Select the correct type of labels (1, 2, 3 below) then click OK
    Word mail merge 3.png

  • Your document template will be set up.
    Word mail merge 4.png

Envelopes

  • If you are creating envelopes, the Envelope Options window will appear
    1. Select the type of envelopes you are creating and set the fonts if necessary (1, 2, 3 below)
      Word mail merge 5.png
    2. Click the Printing Options tab
    3. Set the feed options and paper tray (4, 5, 6) (this can take some trial and error, depending on your printer)
    4. Click OK (7)
      Word mail merge 5b.png

  • Your document template will be set up.
    Word mail merge 6.png

Select data source

  1. Click the Select Recipients command
    • Browse to the export you created and open it
      Word mail merge 7.png

    • If you're creating labels, you'll see "<<Next Record>>" appear in the second and subsequent labels. This is good.
    • If you're creating envelopes or letters, you will not see "<<Next Record>>". This is also ok.
      Word mail merge 8.png

    • In either case, the mail merge toolbar will change from this
      Word mail merge 9.png

      to this (note that many more commands are available)
      Word mail merge 9b.png

Save your document

  • Before you forget, save your document now.
    • If you save to the same location where you put your merge, it will be easier to use your merge again later.

Check/edit your mail merge recipients

  1. Click the Edit Recipient List command
    • Make sure the recipient names and other information look correct
      Word mail merge 10.png

    • If any info is not correct, or people are missing, do the following to edit your recipient list:
    1. Click the Data Source filename (1), then click the Edit button (2)
    2. Browse to the correct record (3) OR click Add New (3)
    3. Edit the data (4)
    4. Click Close (5) when finished, or repeat steps 2 and 3 above
      Word mail merge 11.png

Add merge fields

  1. Click into the correct place in your document
    • If you're merging a letter, place your cursor in the text where the personalizations should go
    • If you're merging labels, click into the top left label
    • If you're merging envelopes, click into the recipient address box
  2. Click the Insert Merge Field command
  3. Make sure the Database Fields radio button is selected (2)
  4. Double-click each field you wish to add, or click a field and then click Insert (3)
  5. The fields will appear in the document as you add them (4)
  6. Repeat for all fields you wish to use in your merge
    Word mail merge 12.png

  7. When finished, click Close. Your document should look something like this
    Word mail merge 13.png

  8. Click the Preview Results command.
    Word mail merge 14.png

    • Your field names will disappear and will be replaced by the first person in your merge
      • If any data is missing, click the Preview Results command to show field names, then add fields with the "Insert Merge Field" command.
      • If unwanted fields are showing, click the Preview Results command, highlight the incorrect fields, and delete them.
      • Note: fields without data will not print at all.
        Word mail merge 15.png

Format your merge

  1. For this step, you'll want to see the people's names. If you don't see them, click the Preview Results command.
    Word mail merge 14.png

  2. Add text where necessary (I added "Hired" before the hire date in the example below), spaces, line breaks, and any formatting.
    • If you're creating envelopes, type your return address at top left if necessary.
      Word mail merge 16.png

    • To change the order of the fields, highlight a field (1) and drag it to its new location (2)
      Word mail merge 17.png

Update your labels and check formatting

    • Don't click Update Labels if you're creating envelopes or letters.
  1. Click the Update Labels command to copy your merge fields to all labels on the sheet
    Word mail merge 18.png

  2. Use the arrows to scroll through your merge. Look for problems with formatting, incorrect names, or other errors.
    Word mail merge 19.png

  3. If you're creating labels, make any changes in the top left label, not the one with the errors.
    • If you're creating envelopes or letters, you can make changes on any page.
      Word mail merge 20.png

  4. You can use this arrow to get back to the first record:
    Word mail merge 21.png

    • Don't click Update Labels if you're creating envelopes or letters.
  5. When finished editing, click the Update Labels command again to copy any changes to all labels on the sheet
    Word mail merge 18.png

Save your document again

  • Save your document again. Ctrl-S will do the trick if you've saved it already.

Merge/print the document

At this point, you've got a data file and a template known as the "merge" file. You'll now either create your "merged" document or print the merged data.

Merging to a new document

  1. To save a merged document, which you can send to other people or can easily open and print again, click the Finish Merge command (1) and then click Edit Individual Documents... (2)
    Word mail merge 23.png

    • You'll usually want to merge all records
      Mail merge 26.png

    • The merged document will look very much like the merge file you created. However, the mail merge toolbar will once again look like this:
      Word mail merge 9.png
      and your document will now have multiple pages.
    • Save this document to the same location as your export and merge file. Do not save over the merge file! Give the merged document a new name.
    • You can now print or distribute this merged document to others.

Merging to a printer

  1. To print your merge file directly to a printer, click the Finish Merge command (1) and then click Print Documents... (2)
    Word mail merge 24.png

    • You'll usually want to merge all records...
      Mail merge 27.png

    • ...however, if you want to print just the first page to test formatting, you must specify the records you wish to print. From should be "1" and To should be the number of labels on a sheet....
    • ...or, if you're testing an envelope or letter, print from record 1 to record 1 (the only record on the first sheet of paper).
      Mail merge 28.png

    • In the "Print" settings window, select your printer and set the number of copies you need.
      • If you didn't set record numbers in the previous step, but wish to print just a single page to test this merge, you must cancel this print and start over. Setting a page range here will not work.
        Mail merge 29.png

  2. Click OK to print.