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How to do a Mail Merge Using Google Docs

**UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST available here. In the new version, learn how to use the newer autoCrat interface to create mail merge letters in Google Docs.**

In this How To video, we show you how to install Autocrat Script and use it to do a mail merge in Google Docs

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

01:05 Install Autocrat

01:43 How to set up Autocrat for the first time

01:55 How to select your template

02:18 How to select your source data

02:49 How to choose the data to fill in your mail merge fields

03:09 Where your mail merge documents will be saved

03:40 How to automatically name all your documents

04:22 Determine your format (Google Doc or PDF)

04:34 How to automatically email your document

05:05 How to determine the editing rights of the document

05:23 Automatically process the form for new submissions

06:09 The mail merge document

06:58 How to have your questions answered

07:09 Check out http://www.googleappsforedu.com

TRANSCRIPT

Hi I’m Mike Reading from the Using Technology Better Community and the blog over at usingtechnologybetter.com. In today’s short video, I’m going to show you how we can use a script inside Google Docs to easily create Mail Merge documents.

So you will notice here in my Google Drive folder that I’ve already created a few documents and I’m going to assume that you know how to create this. If you don’t, then I’ll put some links to some videos that will show you the process beneath this video.

I’ve just created a simple spreadsheet that has first name, last name and their elective choice next to it and I’ve created a Mail Merge doc that just uses the double brackets here as a Mail Merge field identifier. So you can see that there is a Mail Merge field here and there is another Mail Merge field just here.

Now to make this work, what we need to do is we need to go back to our spreadsheet and we need to install a script. So we are going to go down here to insert and then script and the script name that we are looking for is called Autocrat. So let’s just type that in there and we’ll see it just here.

So we are going to click install. Now just like every other time when you install a script for the first time, that script will just ask for you permission to be able to access your documents so you need to just give the authorisation for that and as soon as we’ve clicked on accept, what will happen is that the script will now sit on or toolbar just at the top here. So here is how we run our document.

Firstly, we click on the Autocrat script and we click run initial configuration.

So the first thing that we need to do is we need to choose where we are getting our template, what’s our merge document. Now if I click on choose template, you will notice that this is the document Mail Merge demo is the same documents as the one I just showed you that I’d already created so I’m just going to select that one and then that will file it for us.

Now we’ll just click save setting and then what will happen is the script will then go and find the source style. Now at the moment I’ve only got one sheet inside my document down the bottom here so I only have one option to choose from and this is where we now start to merge our document. Don’t worry too much about this information just here, just click submit, now it’s gone back and found my merged document and knows that it needs to find information for the first name and information from the elective.

Now these words don’t have to relate back to anything inside your spreadsheet because what I can do is just choose the column that I would like.

So first name, I’m obviously going to choose first name and elective, I’m going to choose the elective choice so now it knows where to pull that information from. So we just click there save settings and now what will happen is that script will start to build.

So the first thing we need to do now is just say where we want our document to be saved. Don’t forget too much about all these information up here, we just need to click this box here and say where we would like to save it. Now if I jump back over to my drive folder for a second, you will see that I’ve created a folder inside my Mail Merge doc folder that is where my documents will be saved. So I’m simply going to come over here, choose that Mail Merge docs folder just there and then we need to say how we’d like to name our document. Obviously when you create a document, it creates one copy for every person who is going to receive a response and so you might like to name that document, so it might be Mike’s Elective Choice for instance. So to do that, we come up here to our list of option and we click on first name and just highlight that and drop it in here and so first name… and I can go elective choice. Now if you had more than one person with the name Mike, you might go first name and then go up and grab the last name so it would be first name, last name elective choice.

The next thing that we get to decide is what format we want that document to be created in. Do we want to keep it in a Google Doc or do we want to create at PDF. Now once you’ve decided what type of doc that you would like, then what you could do is email or share that document with the person that you are merging the document for. Now you could put the recipient email address in here. I don’t have that option because in my spreadsheet over here, I didn’t ask for their email address but if you had, that would come up here as an option for you and this would automatically find those email addresses and send each person a copy. No the great thing about this is if you come down here to attachment type, you can then determine is this doc that you are going to share with them, something they can just be viewed or whether or not they can edit. So you are able to individually share documents with others and then automatically determine what their rights are going to be in terms of that doc.

The last thing that we have here is a box where we can trigger merge on form submit. If your spreadsheet was linked back to a Google Form then what could happen is that Autocrat could run automatically in the background that every time somebody fills out the form, it will automatically process that form, merge the document, email the document to them so it’s not something that you have to do manually which is a fantastic time saver.

So at the moment I’m just going to un-tick that and then I’m going to click save settings and now what we can do is we can say do we want to just test it on the first row so you might have put your data in there to start off with, to test it. You can run the whole thing or you could just set it up and just say don’t run just yet.

I’m just going to run the merge. Now if I go back to my drive folder and click on merge docs, you will see that I have the three documents that I’ve created, they’ve all been automatically named for me and if I open up one of the documents, you will see that the fields are out for me just here.

So it’s says “Hi Pete” there was the first name. “This is a quick reminder that your minecraft elective starts at 3:30.” If we go back to our sheet you will see that Peter has a minecraft elective and there it is there.

So hopefully you can see how you’d be able to use this to save yourself a lot of time when merging documents. The automatic trigger feature is fantastic. There are some features for you to create a document link inside here as well so that you can just link to those documents really quickly.

If you have any questions, I love you to drop a question or a comment in the comment section below and we can continue the discussion from there.

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