Using the Microsoft CRM Mail Merge Wizard

The Microsoft CRM Mail Merge option is a new feature that is now available in both the Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook client. This chapter from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed gives detailed instructions for using Mail Merge in Dynamics CRM. Learn about the different functions of the Mail Merge Wizard and view screenshots of the Mail Merge tool in use.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed
Chapter 7, Common Functions

The Microsoft CRM Mail Merge function is a new feature that is now available in both the Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook client. This chapter from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed gives detailed instructions for using Mail Merge in Dynamics CRM. Learn about the different functions of the Mail Merge Wizard, view screenshots of the Mail Merge feature in use and get tips for managing your Mail Merge as a campaign to track responses.

Using the Microsoft CRM Mail Merge Wizard

Mail Merge (Accounts, Contacts, and Leads) is a new option available on both the Internet Explorer client and the Outlook client. Previously, this option was available only on the Outlook client.

Chapter download

This chapter is excerpted from the book, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed, authored by Marc J Wolenik and Damian Sinay, published by Sams Publishing an imprint of Pearson Education, March, 2008. ISBN 9780672329708. For more information please visit Informit.com.

Mail Merge is a powerful and easy-to-use feature that enables you to perform the following as part of its wizard steps:

  • Select the records you want to use for the Mail Merge.
  • Create Activity records for the records, reflecting the Mail Merge contact.
  • Assign the Activity records to another user.
  • Create a new quick campaign for the Mail Merge records.
  • Use an existing template or create a new template based on the document type.

To access Mail Merge, select either the Mail Merge option from the Actions menu dropdown (when available) or the Mail Merge icon located on the toolbar directly above the records you're working with (see Figure 7.6).

Figure 7.6: Microsoft CRM Mail Merge icon
Figure 7.6: Microsoft CRM Mail Merge icon

When working with the Mail Merge function, a pop-up window called Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mail Merge for Microsoft Office Word presents the available options (see Figure 7.7).

Figure 7.7: Mail merge in Microsoft Word
Figure 7.7 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mail Merge for Microsoft Office Word.

By default, the base language is selected for the Template Language. However, you can change it to any of the languages your administrator has made available (refer to Chapter 14, "Settings and Configuration," for more information about language options). Notice there is no drop-down menu if no MUIs have been installed.

Selecting the Mail Merge type defaults Microsoft Word to the correct page layout, and you have the option to work with either existing templates or create new blank one. Existing documents are available on either a personal or an organizational level. However, you can easily create a new template if none exists and set the access level (personal or organizational) manually.

Additional options include record merge options and the capability to select specific data fields.

For the following example on how to use Mail Merge, assume that you have no existing Mail Merge templates (either personal or organizational) and that you will create a new letter to send to all active Accounts announcing the relocation of your main offices to a new address.

Note

Options are limited on the Mail Merge dialog to only the following:

Selected Records on Current Page
All Records on Current Page
All Records on All Pages

You could easily select a subset of these records by either performing a simple search on the main page and then selecting a merge from there using the last option (All Records on All Pages), or performing an Advanced Find and working with the results of that to create the Mail Merge (see "Advanced Find" later in this chapter for more information about working with Advanced Find).

Additionally, these options are explained as follows:

Selected Records on Current Page -- If you have selected one or more records on the page, only the highlighted (or selected) records will be used for the Mail Merge.

 

Tip

To select multiple records on a page, hold down either the Ctrl or Shift key while making your selections. As with most Windows applications, Ctrl can be used to select individual nonsequential records, whereas Shift selects a range of records. With this technique, you can select only the records you want. Also, this technique works on filtered views just as well. If you have selected records and then change the page, you will lose the previously selected records.

All Records on Current Page

Remember that Microsoft Dynamics CRM displays only the first 50 records per page, by default. If you have more records, you must navigate to the next page to see the records. As such, this option sends only to the records you have on this current page.

Typically, this is the best option when you have entered a value in the Search field and returned a subset of existing records. A good example of this is if you have multiple Contacts named Bob Smith and you want to send an e-mail to every Bob: You could enter Bob in the text search and, with the results displayed, select Mail Merge and then All Records on Current Page. The Mail Merge would create records for only the selected Bob records -- assuming that they all fit on the existing page.

Tip

You can change this setting of 50 records by navigating to Options and selecting a different value for the number of CRM records to display (see Figure 7.8).

Figure 7.8: Microsoft CRM options page
Figure 7.8 Microsoft Dynamics CRM options page showing 50 records as the default.

All Records on All Pages

This selects every record you have for that Entity, regardless of whether it is displayed on the current page.

As with the previous example, if you did a search for Contacts that started with Bob and you had 400 different Bob type Contacts, you would need to select this option so that you would send to more than just the first 50 (or whatever value you selected for your records to display) Bob Contacts.

Tip

Advanced Find has significantly more options and thus enables users to perform a much more complicated underlying record query. In this example, if you wanted to find all Accounts (not just active or inactive), you would use Advanced Find and remove any filter for account status, to return all Accounts. When you need more than just matching search results or the views predefined in the views, rely on Advanced Find.

Follow these steps to create a mail merge using the Web client (the steps are similar in the Outlook client):

  1. Select Account Entity and the View type from the drop-down list.
  2. Important: Select the View type as Active Accounts from the View drop-down, as shown in Figure 7.9.
Figure 7.9: Microsoft CRM Accounts View drop-down list
Figure 7.9 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Accounts View drop-down list.

By selecting the view, you are adding what is essentially a "prefilter" on the available records. If you had selected a different view type, the records available by default on this mail merge would be different (for example, if you had been working with the default view of My Active Accounts).

  1. Select the Mail Merge icon. The Mail Merge pop-up menu appears (see Figures 7.6 and 7.7).
  2. Leave Template Language as its default English, and leave the Mail Merge type as its default of Letter. Because you'll be creating a new document as part of this sample, leave the Start with A setting as its default of Blank Document as well.
  3. Because you want to send this letter to all your Accounts, select the Merge option of All Records on All Pages.
  4. By default, the most commonly used fields for an Entity are selected as its data fields; however, by selecting the Data Fields button, you can easily select or change the columns that you want to have available for Mail Merge.

Tip

Entity relationships are available within the data fields and are easily recognizable by the parenthesis (see Figure 7.10). This is extremely helpful if you need to add records associated with existing relationships (such as data from the Contact Entity, in which you have the relationship of Primary Contact to Account).

Figure 7.10: Microsoft CRM Mail Merge: Entity Relationships
Figure 7.10 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Entity Relationships in Mail Merge.

Leave the defaults, and select OK to close the Data Fields window; then select OK to continue.

  1. Microsoft Word automatically starts with the selected Mail Merge type format (Letter, Envelope, Fax, or Label), and the Mail Merge Wizard displays the list of recipients that will be used in the merge. By default, all records are selected; however, if you want to exclude one or more, you can uncheck the selection here. From here you can also add sorting and filtering options (see Figure 7.11).
Figure 7.11: Microsoft Word Mail Merge Wizard select recipients
Figure 7.11 Microsoft Word Mail Merge Wizard select recipients.

Click OK to continue.

  1. You may be presented with a dialog box asking if you want to Open or save this file. Select Open to continue.
  2. To use the Mail Merge feature, macros need to be enabled. If you have already enabled macros, you can skip this step; otherwise, select Options near the security warning and then Enable this content to continue the mail merge (see Figure 7.12).
Figure 7.12: Enable macros in Microsoft Word
Figure 7.12 Enable macros in Microsoft Word.

After you've enabled macros, select either the Add-Ins or CRM option from the top tab; then click the CRM icon to continue with the mail merge.

  1. Working within Microsoft Word, you now have the option to follow the Mail Merge Wizard, located in the lower-right corner of the new document, where it reads Step 1 of 4 (see Figure 7.13).

Click Next: Write Your Letter to continue.

Figure 7.13: Microsoft Word Mail Merge Wizard (lower-right corner)
Figure 7.13 Microsoft Word Mail Merge Wizard (lower-right corner).
  1. Following the Mail Merge Wizard, you can compose your letter and enter your data fields as appropriate (see Figure 7.14).

Click Next: Preview Your Letters to Continue to continue.

Figure 7.14: Microsoft Word Mail Merge letter composed
Figure 7.14 Microsoft Word Mail Merge letter composed with data fields added.
  1. Completing the steps in the Mail Merge Wizard enables you to preview the records and make any changes or exclusions you might need to make at this point (see Figure 7.15).
Figure 7.15: Microsoft Word Mail Merge letter preview
Figure 7.15 Microsoft Word Mail Merge letter preview.

Click Next: Complete the Merge to continue.

  1. In the last step of the Mail Merge Wizard (Step 4 of 4), you are presented with three options:
  • Print
  • Edit Individual Letters
  • Upload Template to CRM (when using the Outlook client)

Upload Template to CRM is available because you created a new document using the Outlook client. If you want to work with this document again, select Upload Template to CRM. Click Yes when asked whether you want to create a new mail merge template; the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mail Merge Template opens, enabling you to name, assign, and save the template for future use.

See Chapter 14 for working with templates.

When selecting either Print or Edit Individual letters, the merge job completes and you are presented with the option Create Activities for the Mail Merge (see Figure 7.16).

Figure 7.16: Microsoft Word Mail Merge Create Activities options
Figure 7.16 Microsoft Word Mail Merge Create Activities options.

Track Activities for the Mail Merge

By default, no Activities are created in Microsoft Dynamics CRM after the mail merge is completed. Because you want to track that you sent this letter to your active Accounts only, you will change the default setting and ask that Activities be created after the mail merge is completed. Although it is not necessary to select the Activity Details button, you can easily view and change what the Activity will look like when it has been completed (see Figure 7.17).

Note

When viewing the Activity Details in Figure 7.17, notice that you cannot change several fields: Sender, Recipient, Address, Direction, Regarding, and Owner. These are set by default as part of the Mail Merge function. You can change the Subject (which defaults to the standard CRM Activity type and date/time/user stamp), the description (message), the Duration, the Due date, Priority, Category, and Subcategory. In the example, you'll leave the defaults.

Assign Activities

Because you are creating Activity records, you have the option to change the Activity assignment (see Figure 7.16). By default, the owner of the Activity is the user who completed the mail merge; however, because the records might belong to different owners, you can set the ownership to the owners of the record that were included in the mail merge. Alternatively, if you wanted to manually assign them to another user entirely (say an administrative assistant who is responsible for managing the outgoing correspondence for example), we could change the setting to Another User or Queue.

Figure 7.17: Microsoft Word Mail Merge Activity Details
Figure 7.17 Microsoft Word Mail Merge Activity Details.

If you chose to keep the records open for follow-up, be sure to change the default selection for Automatically Close the Activities as Completed.

Finally, the option Create a New Quick Campaign enables you to quickly and easily manage the Mail Merge as a campaign and, therefore, track responses. For more information about quick campaigns, refer to Chapter 11.

Depending on the size of your mail merge, you might experience a delay while Microsoft Word is preparing the merge and while Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 creates the Activity records, assigns them accordingly, closes them (if applicable), and adds them to a new quick campaign.

You can easily view the Activities in the History (if you selected them to be closed) or in the Activities tab of the affected Contacts.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed is also Safari Books Online-enabled. For owners of the print book, you will automatically receive access to the online edition for 45 days by following the steps in the back of the book. For those who are interested in the online edition but are not yet Safari subscribers, you can try a free Safari pass here.

 

Next Steps

Continue to the next section: Running Microsoft Dynamics CRM workflow and other functions

Download Chapter 7, Common Functions

Read other excerpts and download more sample chapters from our CRM and call center bookshelf

This was first published in May 2008
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