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    Mail Merge Experts?

    2012 - 02.08

    The need for this has actually passed, as we solved it (or got around the problem), but thought I’d throw it out to the internet and see if anything came back.

    So one of the problems with having an online magazine is that you’re going to publish content written by other people, which means that you need the rights to publish that content, which means that you need contracts which give you those rights.  Because Karin’s had Abandoned Towers open for submissions essentially since she took it over, she’s got a bunch of submissions that she has accepted and which needed contracts (so that we could have content to publish for launch and going forward).

    I made up the nice template for the contracts, and thought that it might be possible to use a mail merge in order to make the individual contracts.  However, I didn’t find any way that I could do what I actually wanted which was this:

    • Use the Word 2010 document that I’d created as a template (this is easy)
    • Use an Excel 2010 spreadsheet as the source list of fields (this is easy)
    • Merge the source fields into the template document to create unique contracts (this is also easy)
    • Instead of printing, emailing or generating a PDF, I wanted to generate individual Word documents for each contract (and ideally which allowed me to dictate the logic that was used for the file names of those documents).  The key reason being that we need the people who receive the contracts to be able to enter some data into them. (this as far as I was able to tell was impossible)

    Anyway, just throwing it out there that this seems like an oversight and an incredibly useful feature (especially in the current digital environment).  In the long run this probably isn’t a big deal for us, as Karin will going forward be making only a couple of contracts at a time for content (instead of the giant number created just before launch).

    As a second question, anyone know of a way to create a custom Document Information Panel with InfoPath for a Word document without having to use SharePoint?  I suppose I don’t actually care if InfoPath is used to create the Document Information Panel, realistically I just want to customize it and include additional fields (specifically for the contract) without having to resort to using SharePoint (which I don’t have easy access to at present).  All the steps in the process are pretty simple as far as I can tell (and remember) but in InfoPath 2010 at least, the first thing you get prompted to enter when trying to create the custom Document Information Panel is the SharePoint location, and it just seems like this should be possible without using SharePoint (at least technically, if not practically or being worth the effort).

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