if you have attempted to merge data collected via a Google form then you will have heard of AutoCrat.
After reading this blog please take the Poll at the bottom of the blog .. Should Google have named this app AutoCrat or AutoCrap?
To mail merge of Google docs form data to a letter requires creation of a template Google doc to merge form date to and requires the installation and use of a Google add-on being AutoCrat.
Chef LeeZ Thai Cooking Schools Bangkok built a Google form into which we manually entered the data to the various merge fields
for a letter merge template.
We placed these in a folder where we expect to place the merged docs.
Chef LeeZ has attempted no fewer than 12 attempts and spent no less than 10 hours playing with AutoCrat and so far we have been unable to get a clean total merge.
The on line help with regards to merging Google form data to a Google letter doc and the related use of Autocrat were, as is so common with Google apps, not current, leaving mail merges and use of Autocrat up to trial and error on the users part.
We even attempted, as suggested, a template version with <<$fieldName>>. We identified and selected the correct fields from the specified data merge page. The <<$currDate>> input command repeatedly failed to fill so we had to manually enter the date.
Open the spreadsheet (form date) click on add-ons (as we previously installed autocrat from the list of add-on options) from drop down select “choose template” then click add template.. From the next window select the template the Google doc with merge fields, <<MergeFields>>.
This allows you to select the template.
open the folder containing the template merge doc and click the merge file document which adds the merge fields to the select-able options.
Now you click “use template”. The next screen allows you to match up field names doc to list.
Now you need to select the sheet of your data spreadsheet containing the data to merge. It will default to the sheet you are on when opening AutoCrat. Click the right hand side field options and select the proper fields to use to fill the left side template fields and note how AutoCrat removed the $ sign from the insert fields.
This is where the help offered fails. Why do I have to change my document to <<$fieldNames>>? We did it though. Next field is File Naming Convention is? WHAT IS THIS? We Input $currDate not knowing what should go here and every merged doc had $currdate for a name. We tried <<MergeFieldName>> and every merged doc was named MergeFieldName.
Select file type Google doc or pdf. We selected Google doc.
Run preview before merge.
View your one doc merged as a preview. Click on the new folder listed to view the test merge. The run Merge will create a separate doc for each merge and store them in this folder. You have no say in where this folder is stored but it appears to attach to the date spreadsheet used as a separate folder. Click view in Google docs to see full list.
Click on the document to open and view it and AutoCrat or should we say AutoCrap as it has failed to merge any information to the test.
Try Run Merge, but remember for what ever reason, AutoCrap limits the number of merges you can do in a day. They don’t say how many this is and you can expect to run out of merges for the day before you figure out how to use AutoCrap!
The run merge takes some time to perform its merges. Our guess this is relevant to the number of merges it creates (4+ minutes for 65 merges).
:Ooops! Looks like the cloud was running hot” message is received every attempt and as said earlier each attempt to complete or rerun adds files to the folder and to merged number. AutoCrap! Click OK so screen disappears or click run merge to see if it continues to complete your merge.
Click the created merged document folder Which, this time, we found in the folder with the templates and the data sheet, where it should have been.
Open one of the docs to view and see if AutoCrat worked!
Now let’s try to merge the date again this time to a template doc without <<$SignfieldNames>> meaning we use the fields as they are in the date spreadsheet <<Contact Name>>.
Now we need to visit our data sheet and remove columns at the end of the data sheet (in our case columns r – s) as they are added to spreadsheet on the first merge attempt and on every merge attempt.
As you can see below the merge fields now match up without adjusting the right column.
Save and this time we named it attempt 10 and save
We jumped right to Run Merge started 9:35am finished 9:39 (4 minutes).
There is now 125 files in the folder? Previous merges are still this file, but we deleted the previously created folder so why are yesterdays attempted merges in this folder? Our random selection shows us the completed merges are correct but every merged doc has the same name. Perhaps use <<contact Name>> as the description knowing who each letter is to.
Let’s try it. Start over with attempt 12. <<Business Name>>
The Test merge works but it turned Chef LeeZ one page letter into two pages .. So its still not working AutoCrap! Have to now adjust the letter to allow for unforeseen stretch in the document.
Well the merge worked with the typical Ooopps message and only merged 49 of 65 records. AutoCrap! I give up … did I run out of merges already? AutoCrap!
In conclusion Chef LeeZ went to MS office word and copied and pasted our merge letter and the data spreadsheet created in Google docs form into respective word.doc and .xls documents.
When Chef LeeZ open the word doc and clicked on mail icon from the tools bar and followed the steps from left to right, inserted and replaced existing document fields with fields from data doc field list selection option and we were printing 65 properly merged letters in 30 minutes!
AutoCrap! Don’t waste your time with AutoCrat!
Take the Poll .. What do you think Google Should have named their spreadsheet merge app AutoCrat or AutoCrap?