The MailMerge CoverSheet is actually a very powerful feature available through the API. I am sure that many people are not aware of what uses may be available through using the Custom MailMerge Coversheets.
Using this process the Customer can now create a customized coversheet for use with their fax jobs using the API. The MailMerge Coversheet can have custom wording, graphics and layout as opposed to the default Coversheet that is included with Fax jobs.
The process for using a Customized MailMerge Coversheet is pretty straightforward once you understand the process for creating it and placing the request in your XML.
I will layout the steps in the process of creating the Customized MailMerge Coversheet along with XML examples, and a sample Coversheet that the Customer can use to create their own Coversheet.
I am going to assume a basic understanding of MailMerge functions within Word 2007. I will post the steps necessary for creating the document but if you need training or a tutorial on a How to Create a MailMerge Documents, there are many good tutorials online and at the Microsoft website.
If you take a look at the attached SampleCover.doc you will see that it contains several mailmerge fields, along with a Custom Title (SampleFax) and a customized disclaimer on the bottom of the fax document. As you can see this gives the customer many customized ways in which to create a document. It could have a graphic, or different fonts plus any other features that Word affords, in order to make it as attractive as the customer wishes.
One of the steps I will outline here is the mapping in the XML to those MailMerge fields to automatically fill in the required data.
The first step in this process will be to create a csv file (see attached) with the names of the fields that you will be using in the document. This csv file will be used as a recipient list in the MailMerge process to place the fields in the document.
The next step will be to launch Word and open a blank document. On the tab bar at the top of Word you will see the tab marked "Mailings". Click on that tab. That will bring you to a new level of icons from which to choose. Click on "Start Mail Merge" and choose "Letters" from the drop down.
Now click on Select Recipients from the tab bar. From the drop down choose "Use Existing List". At this point you can now navigate to the CSV file you created (like my attached sample) and choose it as your recipient list. We aren't worried at this point about actual recipients as the system will supply those when it is in production. What this step does allow is for you to be able to have the desired merged fields to place on the document.
At this point you are free to design your CoverSheet as you see fit. As you are designing and it comes to the point where you wish to insert one of the MailMerge fields all you have to do is click on "Insert Merge Field" choose the field you wish to insert and click on it.
Once you have placed all the merged fields, finished designing your coversheet, and saving the document you are finished with the Word Mail Merge Procedure.
Now that you have your beautiful coversheet designed and ready to be used the next step would be to base64 encode it. I am not going into that procedure here and most developer's either have a tool or procedure in order to accomplish this.
Now you create your XML in order to submit and save the coversheet. Here is an example of an XML doing just that in the attached MMCreate.xml
As you can see in this example the merged fields must be mapped.
See the MailMege CoverSheet Mapping Fields post for more details.
Once this XML has been executed it will store the Custom Cover Sheet on the system and make it ready for use.
Once you have it stored on the system,if you would like to see how it will look you can execute another XML - MMPreviewCoverSheet.xml. This XML will return a sample of the coversheet as a supported document type, i.e., tiff, doc, etc. The fields will be filled in by the CSV file that you attach with the appropriate data.
Once the CoverSheet has been stored on the system the profile of the customer must be changed in order for them to be able to access the coversheet. The element in the profile that must be changed is cover_type and from the drop down select MM.
Once this has been done when the customer launches his JobSubmitRequest, under FaxOptions CoverSheetName will contain the name of his customized coversheet. (See Sample Below):
<CoversheetTo>Mr. John Jones</CoversheetTo>
<CoversheetFrom>Mr. Lee Myers</CoversheetFrom>
<CoversheetAttn>This is a test</CoversheetAttn>
I hope this gives you an overview of the advantages of using Custom Fax MailMerge Coversheets and answers your questions. Should you need any further explanation please feel free to post a comment or ask a question in the discussion group.