PATools

Help for PATools Easy Word Merge

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There is a short YouTube video which may help:

Running PATools Easy Word Merge

 

Using the software

In simple terms, the software runs a search and replace throughout a Word document, based on what you tell it to look for and replace with - you define these in columns A and B respectively within an open Excel workbook.

You can choose how you mark the fields - typically they will be like one of these: [Date] or <Date> or <<Date>> or {Date}. You can use more than one. Or you do not need to use any, but beware - if you use, for example, 'Date' with no marker (ie not '[Date]') then all occurrences of the word 'Date' will be replaced.

Excel fields not occurring in Word causes no problems, and similarly vice versa - in both occurrences no replacement will be made.

There are two 'reserved fields':

  1. 'Word Doc' allows you to define the full path and file name for the Word document (see picture below).
  2. 'Word Save' allows you to define the full path and file name for the Word document to be saved after the merge.

At the top of the screen you select the Word document, which will be opened as Read-Only as a precaution to protect your template from accidental overwriting.

This can either be defined in the Excel worksheet as "Word Doc" (no quotes) in column A, with the full path and file name in the adjacent cell (ie column B). If the path or file name is wrong or not defined, then the software will prompt you to select the file (although the Excel data will not be changed).

Alternatively you can select a file to use by clicking "Browse". It will be added to the top of the drop-down; the software remembers this list (10 files).

There are also 2 links to run verifications - the software can check that all fields in Excel are found in your Word document (except for the 2 reserved fields), and vice versa. In the latter case, you will need to tell the software how to recognise the merge fields in the Word document, so it prompts you for the opening and closing markers (eg [ and ], or << and >>).

 

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Options

1. Include headers, footers, text boxes etc will extend the search and replace from just the main text of the Word document to look in the rest of the document. The downside of doing this is that it slows down the operation, though not very much.

2. I use Outlook for emails will give you the option to attach the completed Word document into an email, either as a Word document or a pdf file. The email will not be sent, but left open for you to add the addressee(s), the text for the email etc.

NB pdf files - this option is not available pre Office 2007.
Office 2007 requires a Microsoft add-in available at Download 2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF which you will need to download and install.

 

 

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General Notes, Tips and Precautions

1. Although the software is well tested and written, we would recommend as good practice that any data and templates be saved and backed-up before running this software, as it is impossible to protect against every possibility of system crashes etc causing runtime problems that may damage your data.

2. For this, as with any software, the best way to evaluate it and make it work for you is to play with it using dummy data until you become comfortable and are ready to use it for real.


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