Create Your Source Document(s)
Of course, we shudder as we succumb to the need for you to insert any kind of field in a document. If you have read the other materials discussing the program, you know that Pathagoras prides itself on being a 'plain text,' no fields required, document assembly program. Here we must vary from that mantra.
As elsewhere in Pathagoras, we have endeavored to made the process of field making as simple and as intuitive as possible. Once you get the hang of it and have done it a few times, the process will become almost second nature.
Display an existing document to which you wish to add database merge fields onto your editing screen. Alternatively, just display a new, blank document.
Link to data source.
This is the 'magic' of the system that Pathagoras provides.
a. Click the Pathagoras drop down features menu.
b. Click Database and Click the Database Setting element to display the Database Settings screen
c. Select the Database you want to use and click the Connect to Database button.
d. The document is now linked to the database, and you can start inserting merge fields at strategic locations.
Inserting merge fields.
a. Place the cursor insertion point where you wish to insert a field.
b. Click the Insert Fields button. All available fields in the database are displayed in a drop down list.
c. Select the fields and click the OK button. (Alternatively, double clicking an entry will typically insert a field into the document.
d. Continue adding fields as desired.
e. You can tell that you have added a field because you will see either text surrounded by «double chevrons» and (typically) with a grey background OR the actual information (name, address, etc.) from the first record of the database. Which of these displays is a function of the status of the "View Merged Data" (Word 2000-2003) or Preview Results (Word 2007) button in the Mail Merge tool bar. The button is a toggle. Click it to show the 'other' view.
f. When you have finished adding fields, we recommend that you disconnect the database. Do so by clicking the Unlink button in the Database sub-menus. Why? To convince you that you don't need it. To convince you that fields are just 'things' in the document that can be moved, copied, pasted, deleted in the same way that you move, copy, paste and delete other elements of Word documents. See "Keep this in mind" below.
Edit and Save
Edit the document so that things are lined up correctly. This is simply a matter of adding extra characters and spaces where they belong. For example, in an address block, you brought in fields that represented the «City»«State»«Zip» and they probably are all mushed up against each other. Add a comma and a space after «City» (just a plain text comma) and two spaces between «State» and «Zip». The line should look like this: «City», «State» «Zip»
Save the document in an appropriate forms folder. Ideally you should save it in a folder that you have also assigned as a book or as a DropDown List. That way you can quickly access it in a typical document assembly session. See the Main Manual for how you can save on-screen text directly into a book or a DropDown List.
Notes: Just like with 'regular' document assembly (if you assemble from individual paragraphs and clauses), most of your source text is 'boilerplate' in nature and will contain no fields. You will need to add database merge codes only into those pages that display personal data.
Subsequent documents: There are any number of shortcuts you can take in putting together new (or editing existing) source document. Any field, or any collection of fields (e.g., a group of fields that make up an address block; a group of fields that represents signature lines, etc.) that you have created in one source document can be easily copied and pasted into another source document. So, once you have created, let's say, an address block for your first letter, copy that section into the clipboard. Then, open up another letter (or create a new one) and paste that address block into that letter.
Repeat as appropriate.