Letter templates support a wide range of layouts and features. These templates can also insert provider-specific data using variables. These variables are referenced by inserting mail-merge fields. To create a template, follow the steps below.
Creating a letter template
1. Create a document using Microsoft Word. This document should be formatted and laid out as you would want the final document to be. This document will serve as the template from which other documents will be generated.
2. Save the document as a .docx file.
Inserting variables into your letter template
Insert variables as needed. These variables will represent data that is specific to the provider. Instructions for using variables is available in the next section below.
1. Place your cursor in the document where you want to insert a variable.
2. Select the "Insert > Field" option from the menu.
3. Select "Mail Merge" from the Categories menu, then "MergeField" from the field names menu. The field name "MERGEFIELD" will display in the input field. Enter the variable name after it with "=" in front. For example, to use the variable named "provider_name", enter it as it appears below:
4. Click "OK" to complete. The variable will appear inside your document surrounded by << >> symbols.
5. Apply formatting to these fields as normal. The formatting will apply to the variable values once they are replaced.
Advanced features with variables
Some variables can contain multiple sets of values. We call these list variables. For example, a provider can have multiple board certifications, so the list variable for board certifications will contain data about all of that provider's certifications. To reference list variables in our document, we can use mail-merge fields.list
1. Insert a mail merge field of the MergeField type. Follow this with the list variable name, followed by a ":" "each" and the variable name that will be used to represent each of the entries in the list. This indicates that every variable reference that follows will be a part of the indicated list.
The list of board certifications contains many certifications, so we will use "certification" as our individual variable name. These variables are listed in the template variables list. Note that we do not need to use an "=" sign to reference the start of a list variable.
2. Insert a specific variable reference. These will be the values that correspond to each item in our list. For example, to reference a board certification's expiration date, we can use the variable "certification.expires_on".
3. To indicate that we are done with a list variable, we must insert another mail merge field. Here, we will use the list variable's name followed by a ":" and an "endEach."
4. Altogether, the "each" and "endEach" fields sandwich all of the variable references to that variable. The following table references 2 variables within the board certifications list variable:
For a provider who has two board certifications, this template will populate with each certification's values.