When creating proposals or letters of engagement you can use Abtrac to populate your letter details. Including outlining your budget, and breaking down the project into tasks (or stages). These fee estimates and other Client and Job details can then be mail merged to a template document and sent to the client.
To use the Fee Proposal Letter merge in Abtrac.
1. Create your letter template document in word, and save it into a folder somewhere. (You can leave the merge fields blank at this stage)
2. Point to the template in Abtrac from System Management>Administrator>Letter Management.
Enter a letter description, and set the letter file path by clicking on the * button and browsing to the file location. For Jobs (Projects) Letters, ensure the ‘Job/Project Details’ option is ticked.
This will determine where and when the letters will be visible for use within Abtrac (in the Contact Management Groups, Job Details, or Debtor Control screens respectively).
3. Also in System Management>Miscellaneous Properties there is an “Export Path”.
This tells Abtrac where to put the export files to which the Word templates are linked.
Check that you have an export path defined, and that the location is either common to all users, or accessible to all users on your network.
4. Next you’ll need to Link your MS Word letter templates to the Job data files.
There are two files available for a fee letter merge: export.txt and merge.xls
One data file “export.txt” contains all the data from the Client Details, Job Details and Billing Details screens. Use the mail merge feature in word to link to the fields from export.txt in your document. (A list of all the fields available for Job exports is detailed below)
(If you are not familiar with mail merge documents then this help file from Microsoft includes a good tutorial)
There is also a second merge file available containing data from the Task screen. This is held in an MS Excel 2003 file called “merge.xls”. If you wish to include a table of tasks and estimates, then from MS Word choose:
Insert > Object > Object > Create from File > and Browse to link to merge.xls.
Tick “Link to file” to save this merge object setting.
5. When the above is set up, your final letter will look something like this:
6. When this template letter is set up once, from any Job/Project click on the Print button, From the export/merge job details section on the right > choose the letter > and then choose Print.
7. When you click Print, Abtrac will (re)export the two data files then open the chosen template letter.
Choose Yes if you are asked to overwrite the export files, and don’t forget to rename and save the newly created word document in the relevant Job folder at your office.
Fields available in export.txt from the Jobs Screen are detailed below:
Abtrac KB# 2021