🎥 Using mail-merge documents

You can use mail-merge document templates to quickly created documents (e.g. letters) that automatically include information from Light Blue. For example, a letter template can automatically fill in your client’s name and details of their shoot.

Creating a document template

You create a document template in a word processor app, such as Microsoft Word or Open Office. Light Blue works with document templates saved in Rich Text Format (RTF), and we should note that the Pages and TextEdit apps on macOS don’t save or display RTF documents properly so you should avoid using them.

Adding mail-merge tags

To tell Light Blue where you want to include information from your database, you use mail-merge tags. These are special bits of text wrapped in % symbols, e.g. %ContactFirstName%. You’ll find a list of the mail-merge tags available in Light Blue in this knowledgebase article.

Please note that you should type mail-merge tags into your document manually, rather than copying and pasting from the list on our website. Behind the scenes RTF documents can sometimes put formatting tags within the tags themselves, which will break the merge, but that’s made much less likely if you type the tags in manually.

Adding the template to Light Blue

Once you’ve saved your template from Word as an RTF file, you need to import it into Light Blue. To do that:

  1. Go to the “Document Templates” section of the Preferences window.
  2. Click the “Add Record” button in the toolbar to create a new template.
  3. In the dialog that appears, select your RTF template file from your computer.
  4. Light Blue will import a copy of the template file and you can start using it.

Editing an existing document template

To edit an existing document template:

  1. Go to the “Document Templates” section of the Preferences window.
  2. Select the template you want to edit.
  3. Click the “Edit” button. The template will be opened in Word. When you’ve finished making changes, save the template in Word (n.b. use the “Save” command to save the template where it is, do not use the “Save As” command to create a new copy of it) and close it. Light Blue will pick up the updated version automatically.

Using a document template

To use a document template:

  1. Go to the “Activity” panel on a shoot, contact, or any of the other main sections in Light Blue.
  2. Click the + button and select the “Add Document From Template…” option.
  3. Select the template that you want to use.
  4. Light Blue will create a copy of the template, replace your mail-merge tags with information from the record that you added it to, and open it in Word.
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