How to Use Data Merge Tags

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This video describes how to use Proposal Kit's mail merge, data merge, file import, Excel spreadsheet linking and multiple-choice database drop in content tags. These tags allow you to build documents more dynamically and save time by automating document building tasks.

Proposal Pack HelpWatch this related video: How to Create Reusable Content - Editing the Stock Templates

Video Transcription
How to Use Data Merge Tags

In this video we're going to show all the different types of tags used in the Wizard software. The most commonly used tags are the data merge tags. These are things like the name and address contact information, the current date and so on that are merged into the documents as you build them.

Other types of tags are used in the Excel dynamic linking. There's another type of tag used in our multiple-choice database feature and there are a handful of other tags used when you want to have the Wizard prompt you to select a file to just drop into the document that you are generating. Now to get more information you'll want to just refer to the Wizard manual.

There are chapters that go into detail on all of these things. So if you find the chapter that says What are Mail Merge Tags in the Wizard manual just click that. This chapter will describe in detail how all the common data merging tags work.

This chapter will also give you a complete list of all of the predefined tags for your company information, tags for your clients information. If you're using the Professional Edition with our legal contracts or your own contracts there are predefined tags that might be useful for those. There is a collection of custom tags that you can use for any purpose you want so in the Wizard software you can configure this information in the Preferences.

If you go to Data and Display then Edit Mail Merge Fields. This first tab will define how dates are created and you can set different date formats here and this will define the default for how dates are generated and imported into the date tags. Your Company Data, these are your contact information and what defaults you want to always pre populate.

These will be the same as what you entered into the first setup screen in the Wizard. So this is where you can change what you'd entered in during your setup and then if you actually change the tags that means you will have to adjust all the templates to accommodate the changed tag name. So we wouldn't recommend changing our stock tags unless you know as you're doing.

You can use custom tags if you really need to make your own tags. Now the client screens, these are just what you want to pre-populate your client records with. So most of these are blank.

And note we have some special case defaults like INCREMENT that just causes the Wizard to increment that number automatically every time. So we use that for the proposal number. CURRENTDATE is another predefined default where you'll let the Wizard generate the date based on how you setup this Dates tab.

If you get into the contract fields those are good for when you're using the legal contract templates. We've got some additional defaults where you can have the Wizard customize the content. If you want to add your own custom tags there are 50 preset aside tags for you to use.

So you can actually rename these to be anything you want. We just suggest not using the same tag name as the existing tags. Just make up your own and then you can put into the documents these custom tags wherever you want the Wizard to import custom content during the creation of documents.

Now there are some ways you can configure if you really want to change your tags from being our type that have two angled brackets front and end to say using paragraphs. So you can enable these custom wrappers if you want to have tags that are different from our defaults. This is the screen you'd use to customize the system for the tags.

Now most people are not going to have to make customizations to this except maybe the defaults for company data, contract data and so on. There is a special feature in the Expert Edition of the Wizard where we can remap our Proposal Kit tags to another system. That's useful if you're going to use our Wizard to generate a template and that template is meant to be used in another company's software that uses tags but they happen to have different tags than ours.

Since we support QuoteWerks which is a third-party estimate and quote system we can create documents in our Wizard that can be imported into the QuoteWerks software. If you try this feature you'll notice our tags like our customer title, salutation, first name, last name will get remapped to what you see here. This is the tag for that company's software.

So if you have other software we have set aside custom entries here so you can remap our Proposal Kit tags during document assembly to anything you want. One of the special type of tags is where you can put in the tag ImportFile, ImportContractFile or ImportExcelFile into our templates where you want the wizard to ask at assembly time to import a file. You can define how the Wizard is going to do that document import.

You can either import it as a static insert. You can link to a file, that's for use if you want to import a file into your Word document such as a Excel spreadsheet, PDF or another Word document but that file might change and you want changes to automatically populate into your Word document. In that case you would use a link to a file and you can also check the Ask During Import how you want it it to be imported.

Now we have set up some example files to show this in a folder so what we're going to do is we're just going to browse to our desktop folder. We're just going to set this to this desktop folder. Now other types of tags are used in our multiple-choice system so there's another video that goes into the multiple choice system in much more detail so we're not going to touch on it too much here.

If you get into the multiple choice database feature this is where you'll set up those tags. All right, now that we've gone through the Preferences we will show this in practice. Our first example we're just going to show the basic mail merge tags and this works in both the Novice and Expert Edition.

Most of the time tags are used in the Cover Letter, Title Page, the Company History is a place they're commonly used, Back Page and we'll add an Invoice. Now we'll show you the templates that are used to create these documents before they get merged with the data so you can see what the tags look like. A quick way to do that is we can just go click this Show all Templates, check Show all Templates Selected for my Project and now we can easily open only the templates that are going to get built into our project.

I can look at the Title Page now. This is the stock Proposal Pack template that's going to get built in with the other templates. You see this <> it's one of the tags.

There's nothing special about tags these are just text you can just type these with your keyboard. It's bracket, bracket, CurrentDate, bracket, bracket. All tags are like this, they'll start with these two characters they'll end with these two characters.

They'll have the unique tag name and there's no spaces anywhere. So you see <>, this is another tag that gets merged. Customers, Proposal Title, and so on.

These are all tags that get merged. If you look at the invoice so you see this here, any thing that's just random text even though it has these brackets is not a tag that's going to get merged. This is just informational text for you to replace so once the document has been assembled this will still be here with brackets around it.

But all these other tags, company, address, current date, work order and so on will all be replaced. You'll see this big block of text here this is informational text even though it's got these brackets around it. That's not a tag, <> down here, that's a tag.

Now these tags here <> these are dynamic Excel spreadsheet linking tags and these are used only in the Expert Edition of the Wizard. For the Novice Edition when this document is assembled these will be replaced with text that just says insert that your line item description here and so on. Insert your quantity here.

If you're using the Expert Edition and you're enabling dynamic spreadsheet linking these tags are used to link to specific row and column cells in the matching spreadsheets. Column #1 rows #5 to #24. So this tag will get expanded into all these rows and each cell will be linked here so all of the data, descriptions, prices, quantities, subtotals and so on you'll see here.

R27C2 let's she this subtotal right here. So this cell and spreadsheet will be linked into this location in the document. With Excel spreadsheet linking as you change the spreadsheet it will automatically update into the document.

So that's an Expert Edition feature and there's a whole other set of videos that will go into detail on that so we're not going to touch on that tag too much here. Since all these templates are just text templates you can customize our stock templates as much as you need. Now here on the Company History page we've got tags in here so you can customize these tags, you can remove these, you can add your own custom tags, you can shuffle things around.

It's all editable text you can do whatever you want with it. You could even if you wanted to drop in different content into say the Company History page or the Products page or Resume page or whatever some of the features like the import tag feature or the multiple choice feature. Those tags can be put into our templates here to control drop-in content.

So this first example we're just going to show this straight up standard tag merging. We've selected this set of five templates and we'll turn on the Excel spreadsheet dynamic linking for this demo. Now the Company Data, Client Data, Other Data and Multiple Choices.

These four buttons are going to let you select the data for a lot of these tags. So Company Data you'll see this is all the data we're going to merge into this document into the company tags. You can click this button here to get back to the defaults if you want to change these.

That's a quick way to get back into that Preferences screen. So we've entered in the data already. Client Data, we'll just type in some random client data in here.

Now the Other Data this is going to be used in the Expert Edition when you want to use the contract tags and those up to 50 custom tags. These custom tag are actually embedded in the templates yet that's up to you to go and edit the templates and put in custom tags wherever you want. The same thing with the contracts you're not going to see these contract tags in the proposal templates.

You'll find them in some of our legal contract documents. It's up to you if you want to use these in any of the templates or in your own templates as this is a pretty freeform system for you to put tags wherever you want in the templates to help you control how you want things generated. In this example we're not using any of the contract and custom tags.

If you're using the multiple choice system for having the lists of drop in content this is where you're going to use that tag system. In this example we're showing you the most commonly used tags which are going to be this Company Data and Client Data. So we'll build the document and then you'll see how the document is assembled and where everything is merged with.

Okay, this example has been generated, let's take a look at this. You'll see in the invoice we used an INCREMENT number here so it's automatically incremented. This is the tag setup for the date that's been auto-generated and inserted here in the format that the tag is defaulted to.

All these others are just drop-in with search and replace. The company data the client data. You'll see since this is not a tag it's still editable text for you to fill in.

These are all dynamic spreadsheet links now so these brackets here with the cost that's actually pulled in from the spreadsheet itself so you go to see this data here, this is exactly what's showing up in the Word document. Over on the proposal document same thing here these tags have all been replaced with the data, same here and same there and tags in the company page, back page. So that is how the basic mail merge system works.

Most of the time people are just going to be using these basic company and client data tag but all tags work the same. There are specific tags that are just typed in text into the documents and when the Wizard sees those tags it will do a search and replace on whatever that tag is for whether it's basic text or dropping in a file or drop-in content or so on. The tags are just a way for you to tell the Wizard where you want something dropped in place of that tag.

All right now we're going to show another example of tags that are used for dropping in the contents of external files into your documents. This system isn't used nearly as much but it's there if you have a need to have drop-in content which is an entire file that you want to pick from during document assembly. I will demonstrate three different tags.

The <> tag, the <> tag and the <> tag. You'll remember in the Preferences we set our path to this desktop folder of ours where we're going to look for this content. So this might be a case where maybe you're using another system to generate data or a file and then you want that file to then import it into the proposal or you might have a repository of files that you want to pick one from during document assembly time.

Maybe those are specification sheets for products or different legal contracts or so on. So the use of these tag means we have to actually make some edits to the stock templates to tell the Wizard that we're going to be using this drop-in content and where it's going to go. Here I'm going to pick three random templates out of our system.

You can put these tag anywhere you want in any of our templates so we're going to pick the Reports, the Instructions and the Terms and Conditions templates. Just add those to our project. Now we need to go edit these stock templates so I'll show you a quick way to go edit these.

We'll just go back to the Add Templates tab, click the Show Templates button, click the Only Show Templates in My Selected Project checkbox. Now we can edit say the Terms and Conditions and we're going to remove all the stock text from the Proposal Kit version and we're going to add a tag. I'll just type this with the keyboard <> this is that simple.

It's just a text tag we type in with that exact phrase in brackets. We'll save that so now what this is going to do is every time we build a document in the Wizard using the Terms and Conditions template the Wizard during assembly time will see this tag. It'll pop up a dialog box asking us to browse to and select a file to get dropped into this location.

We'll go edit the other two templates, so the Instructions will use the <> tag and in the Reports we'll use the <> tag. All right so we've edited the three stock templates, we have our templates selected for the project, we have our Company Data. I populated this with the same Client Data as before.

Now that we're going to generate the document here is when it's going to start asking us to import this content. Okay now that we're processing the Terms and Conditions it just popped up a dialogue box asking me to select an import file and you notice it opened up the folder that we set in the Preferences which is this desktop folder. So we can actually close this one.

And we are going to import our example agreement. Now we'll go on to the next file and now it's asking us what file we want to import into the Instructions. We put all these in one folder.

You could have split these into three different folders to keep your content organized a little better. So we'll just import this PDF into the Instructions template. Now it's processing the Report template and we are going to import the Excel spreadsheet into that one.

Okay, now we've generated this example. Take a look at it and you'll see the company and client data that have been merged. We're using a different design theme this time.

So it doesn't really matter what design theme is used, they all work the same. Now you see in the Terms and Conditions it dropped in our external content. We had tags for external content which got merged into right here.

You'll see the Instructions page it dropped in our PDF document and in the Report page it dropped in our custom spreadsheet and it merged in the name and address tags in the Back Page. So this is how you use mail merge tags, data tags, Excel spreadsheet tags and multiple-choice content tags in the Wizard software. Make sure you read the Wizard manual.

This chapter here What is Mail Merge and Tags will go into detail on these standard tags. This chapter here How do I Add Dynamically Linked Spreadsheet Calculations that will go into detail on how the Excel dynamic linking tags work. You'll see the full list of Excel spreadsheet linking tags outlined here.

This chapter here How do I Use Multiple Choice Fields you'll see links off to those other videos. This will describe how to use the multiple choice database feature and those tags. This chapter here How do I Import the Contents of External Files will go over these tags we just showed for how to drop in the content of entire files.

So that is how all of the tags work in the Wizard software.

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Create winning business proposals & contracts with minimal effort and cost. Proposal software, proposal templates, legal contracts and sample proposals.