Document merge

Automatically generate documents for records in Beacon with one click

Updated over a week ago

Document merge is Beacon's version of mail merge. With document merge, you can automatically generate documents for records in Beacon, at the click of a button.

You can generate just one document, or thousands of documents, in seconds - which is most commonly useful for sending letters to your supporters, such as:

  • Donation acknowledgements

  • Welcome packs

How it works

In Beacon, you need to set up a document "template" - this is just a regular Word document, but with "merge tags" in the relevant places. For example:

You can then automatically generate Word documents using this template. In this example, we're sending donation acknowledgements, so we'll want to create one document per payment in Beacon.

Generating individual documents

To generate a document for an individual record, click the document merge icon in the top right when viewing a record:

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Choose the template you'd like to generate a document with, and then click generate.

Tip: Don't see a template in the drop-down list? It's likely that the template's record type is different to the record you're currently viewing.

Generating in bulk

You can also generate documents in bulk. That is - if you had a list of payments that you wanted to generate acknowledgements for, you could generate a ZIP file containing all of the generated documents.

After generating, you can download a ZIP file containing all of the documents:

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Optionally you can also choose to auto-log activities to the timeline, with the file attached, when documents are generated: (works for single and bulk generation)

Creating templates

To create your document template, head over to Settings > Documents in your sidebar, and upload any word document you like as your template.

Merge tags

Beacon will automatically detect any merge tags in your template, and allow you to set "default values" for each tag - which will be used if the data isn't saved on a record in Beacon:

Tip: You can use the "cheat sheet" to get a list of all merge tags available.

Activity logging

Optionally, you can choose an activity type that you'd like to automatically log to the timeline when the document is generated:

Note: The activity is logged to the timeline of the record you generate the document for (e.g. a Payment), which isn't necessarily the associated Person record.

Merge tag configuration

You will sometimes see an additional section for 'Merge tag configuration'. This section will include a toggle titled 'Include country in addresses?'. Our default behaviour when merging address values into a document is to include all address information, i.e. this toggle will be switched on. If you'd like to exclude the country from your address merge tag, e.g. if none of your mail will be sent internationally, you can switch this toggle off.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to show the date the document was created automatically?

Yes! Use the {generated_at} merge tag for this.

How can I print all my files at once?

There's a variety of methods for bulk printing your generated files. See our handy guide to find a method that works for you.

What permissions do I need to run a document merge?

If the roles and permissions element has been purchased, admin users can restrict access to features, records, and fields. In order to run a document merge, a standard user will need at least the following permissions:

  • Feature - Document settings - Read permission

  • Read permission for all fields on the record type being exported (even if not used in the template)

  • Read permission for any fields used on linked records (only those used in the template)

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