Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mail Merge Templates


In this blog article I would like to give you more insight into Microsoft Word document that can be uploaded into Microsoft Dynamics CRM as mail merge templates. We will talk about

  1. Different word document formats
  2. Different versions of word XML formats
  3. Controlling version of blank template used in CRM.
  4. Upload to CRM via web and outlook client.

When talking about mail merge, we need to be aware of the three types of documents.

     1. Mail merge template document (.DOT or .DOTX/ .DOTM).

- The template document is the one that is used as a basis for creating the main mail merge document.

- On the local client box, the word mail merge templates are typically located inside the folder templates folder (i.e. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\<language>\<type>)

     2. Mail merge main document (.DOC or .DOCX, .DOCM).

- The main document is the template used for generating the individual documents. It contains the link to the data source and the mail merge tags.

- The mail merge engine works on the main document and generate the individual documents.

     3. Mail merge generated document.

- The individual documents are the output documents generated by the mail merge engine.

- These documents can be directed as email, fax or to a single document that can be printed out.

A CRM mail merge document has to be a word XML file. Users can upload both mail merge template document and mail merge main document to CRM as CRM mail merge template files.

To upload the documents into CRM, the user might need to convert the files into their XML representation. Converting a word document into XML file can be easily done by using the “Save as” option in word.

CRM supports both versions of the Microsoft Word XML file format.

  1. 2003 Microsoft Word  called wordml
  2. 2007 Microsoft Word call the open office format. 

There are issues running document open macros on Word 2007 when template documents are used. Also files like .DOCM and .DOTM contains macros and can not be saved in 2007 word XML format. The new XML format does not allow macros. For these,  the user would need to save the documents in 2003 XML format. So the safest bet is to use and upload the main document of the mail merge in 2003 XML format to CRM.

Currently, when using blank mail merge template in a CRM web mail merge run, we also use a blank 2003 format word document as a base to start with. If you ever want to flip it to use the 2007 format, say if all your users use the new Office 2007 documents then you can do that by replacing the BlankMailMerge.XML file located in the folder “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics CRM\Server\ApplicationFiles” with another file that is in word 2007 format.

Note: the location of the CRM mail merge button on word 2007 depends on the template format version that was used.

Uploading Templates to CRM

Both outlook client and web clients can be used to upload templates to CRM. If you already have word XML file that needs to be uploaded, you can navigate to the Settings->Templates->Mail Merge template section and create a new or edit an existing mail merge template record and upload the document in the file attachment section. When templates are uploaded via web no processing of the uploaded document happens at upload time.

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On the other hand when working inside the CRM outlook client. Users can start mail merge from the grid or the template detail page and then on the final screen of mail merge wizard, click the Upload to CRM button. When uploading the template vi2 to a Microsoft Outlook client, the users field selection, language id, associated entity etc are all automatically set to the settings they started with. Also the uploaded template file is processed to get rid of the data source and the linked query. So if the user opens the template document next time Word warnings about the Data source not found are not triggered.

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Cheers,

Shashi Ranjan

Comments (16)

  1. Aamir says:

    Thanks for informative post , i am not sure if you have seen :

    1 =  When we upgrade from CRM 3.0 to CRM 4.0  then the  mail merge only work with the new created records after upgrade but not with the records which were created before the upgrade.

    2 = i even seen that it doesnt pop up the window which let you to create activity when you  click on "Upload Template to CRM" .It rather  shows the window when you  click on "Print".

    /Aamir

  2. Shashi Ranjan says:

    hi Aamir,

    I am not sure if i get your questions.

    1) I have heard about mail merge not being enabled on custom entities that existed on CRM 3.0. Thats a bug and you can read the earlier post (http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2008/03/14/mail-merge-and-more.aspx) to know how to turn the feature on for those entities.

    I am not aware of any issue related to mail merge not working on upgrade CRM 3.0 records (say account instances).

    2) When you click upload in CRM. You should see a confirmation dialog box for uploading the template to CRM. When you click Print the IE dialog pops up for creating activities. These two actions and they results are different.

  3. Rachel Bouchet says:

    What about creating activities for those mail merge activities initiated from the web client? How come that is not handled and can only be done using the outlook client?

  4. ragnarok89 says:

    Shashi,

    When I click "Upload to CRM" in step 4 of the Wizard in Word, I have no indication whether or not the template was successfully uploaded. Upon investigation, I see that no new template exists in the Lookups for Organizational templates or Personal ones.

    How can I verify my template was uploaded, and how do I find it?

    Al

  5. Z says:

    Is it possible to create activities when using the web client to do a mail merge? Currently, I can get to the print/edit letters step but dont get any pop up for creating activities after that.

    Thanks,

    Z

  6. Christopher.brooks@optevia.com says:

    When using mail merge in version 4, when i select a money attribute I get special charachters appearing instead of the currency symbol before the amount as shown below:

    Amount Requested:  â‚¬100,000.00

    Does anyone know how to fix this?

    Chris Brooks

  7. NM says:

    Hi Chris,

    There is a hot fix for this. KB955056. It has to applied to all client machines but it does the trick.

    Also have you noticed if you enter text on multilines in a description box in CRM and then mail merge all of your lovely formating disappears.

    Same if you use an address block in a letter then save the activity to CRM, any blank address lines although removed in the print out appear again in the document within CRM.

    Very annoying!

  8. Josh Ashwood says:

    I don’t believe Mail Merge xml documents work at all when Office 2007 SP1, or Office 2003 SP3 has been applied :-

    KB955055 – ‘Blah is a mail merge document,

    Word cannot find its data source.’

    I don’t believe the above update fixes this.

    I get the same error on CRM Online – and the feedback from the official support is to contact a Microsoft Partner.

    It’s becoming a problem – it looks like Mail Merge doesn’t work with fully updated Word products, and there is very little, or no support provided for this without paying a Microsoft Partner.

    Can somebody please provide some feedback here. This is a critical problem that seriously degrades the functionality of Dynamics CRM and it needs to be addressed.

  9. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is a fantastic CRM platform for most small medium businesses – it is so

  10. Erik V. says:

    When using mail merge for massive e-mail distribution, Is it possible to include a file in the e-mail?

    I mean, an attachment.

    Regards,

    Erik V.

  11. Chris says:

    We have the same problems as Z on 3 sept. 08. However I do not see a solution in this blog

    Problem is:

    Is it possible to create activities when using the web client to do a mail merge? Currently, I can get to the print/edit letters step but dont get any pop up for creating activities after that.

  12. Thad says:

    How do I engage the Quote entity for Mail Merge to use the Quote Mail Merge template?

  13. Roberto says:

    We have the same problems as Z on 3 sept. 08 and Chris 3 sept. 09. However I do not see a solution in this blog

    Problem is:

    Is it possible to create activities when using the web client to do a mail merge? Currently, I can get to the print/edit letters step but dont get any pop up for creating activities after that.

  14. Chris Jones says:

    we are doing mail merges in MS CRM4 we would like the letter activityes to be saved as docx files not doc files.

    Can this be changed?

  15. Pasha Rabizadeh says:

    Hi there,

    I'm trying to do a quick email campaign and send a mail merged document to a marketing list. The problem is when we track the activity I dont have the option to track the activity as an email + mail merge. I am using this through the Outlook client but I'm not seeing a way to do this. Any ideas?

    Thanks!!

    Pasha Rabizadeh

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