Google merge AddOn AutoCrat or AutoCrap? MS soulution.

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 

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for a letter merge template.

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We placed these in a folder where we expect to place the merged docs. 

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 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.

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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>>.

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This allows you to select the template.

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open the folder containing the template merge doc and click the merge file document which adds the merge fields to the select-able options. 

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 Now you click “use template”.  The next screen allows you to match up field names doc to list.

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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. 

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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. 

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and Save

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Run preview before merge. 

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 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.

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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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 Open one of the docs to view and see if  AutoCrat worked!

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 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>>.

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 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.

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 As you can see below the merge fields now match up without adjusting the right column.

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 Save and this time we named it attempt 10 and save

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 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.

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 Let’s try it.  Start over with attempt 12.  <<Business Name>>

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 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.

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 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!

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 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?



Google Places – Review Guidelines – Promotes and Allows false reviews!

Google Places: I write this as a result of your refusal to remove to fake reviews from our account saying they are not outside your guidelines. Your review guidelines need more teeth!
 This is just a “heads up” from Chef LeeZ who has over 325 real student reviews posted in under 3 years to Trip Advisor. 

If you want the reviews posted to Google Places to have value to a prospective customer. The customer must have faith in the reviews being real, being from person(s) having used the business being reviewed.  

Google Places current review guidelines are lax! You allow anyone to say anything without even having attended or used the business in any way and you allow them to be compensated for reviewing to boot.  As an example your review guidelines would allow Vegans, as an organization, to attack any meat outlets they desire. You also allow reviews from persons residing in the same city therefore employers can request all staff to post a review (2000 employees = 2000 reviews=meaningless results) and or  they can have staff and friends attack their competitors sites. Your current review guidelines promote the worst possible variety of SPAM (being lies and bullcrap). and yah they don’t have to even leave a comment, simply post a 2 or 1 and go on to the next Google Places page and Spam it.  You have to agree, your review guidelines have to be beefed up. 

Wasn’t it Yelp that just recently got spanked with 3 out 4 reviews being proven to be false? Who can believe any review on Yelp now?

As your current review guideline stand .. reviews posted to Google Places are meaningless, valueless,  and can be maliciously harmful! 
May I be so bold so as to recommend you review Trip Advisor review guidelines as when they are followed the review is honestly a travelers review. 
When you stiffen up your review guidelines I will be glad to do a newsletter to our 4000 past students requesting they come and post a review until then your guidelines are to weak and allow for false reviews as demonstrated by both of the reviews where we were given a 2 and 3 rating by people never having been to Chef LeeZ Thai Cooking School Bangkok. Now I see that bored Thai’s have started to leave us Spam reviews and we know they have not taken a class as we have had only 3 Thai nationals in class since 2011 and now we have 3 reviews from Thai’s.
Hoping for a significant Google Places review guideline upgrade in the near future and before its too late we remain 
yours truly, 
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Chef LeeZ reviews are now posted to

Chef LeeZ reviews are now being posted to our website

Chef LeeZ student review #323 “Learned a lot and had fun” 300+ reviews in under 3 yrs!

Thank you for sharing!

Chef LeeZ Review # 322 “Great Day With Chef LeeZ”

Great day with Chef Leez” review # 322, 31/03/14

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 31, 2014NEW

I went with 2 friends to the cooking school and had an amazing experience. We went for the full day and attended a local market with the chef to begin with. It was a slightly more authentic market than I was used to with only a few stalls selling produce. The chef spoke very good English and explained how to find the best products whether it was dried shrimp of garlic.

We cooked six dishes after returning from the market. The room you cook in is air conditioned and well equipped. Everything was ready and waiting for us upon our return. The food really is amazing and you can taste the difference between the food you cook here and the food in many restaurants. Everything is so fresh.

The day is really fun and the chef is really knowledgeable with any questions you might want to ask.

The only thing I would say is that they are so organised and helpful that it is almost too easy. All of the quantities you need are already prepared for you, but you do get given a recipe booklet with everything you need to know. I have already replicated the Som Tam (Papaya Salad) at home and it is delicious.

Thanks for an awesome day.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chef LeeZ Claims Title to Over 320 Reviews in Under 3 Years!








Trip Advisor accepted and published owner response to review #320 “Brilliant Class” claiming Chef LeeZ  title to Over 300 reviews in under 3 yrs!

Chef LeeZ Review #321 “Fun Way to Learn Thai Cooking”

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 30, 2014   NEW  30/03/14 review #321

We chose Chef Lee Z due to it’s ratings on Trip Advisor and we we not disappointed. Chef Lee really knows her craft, she is an expert with Thai cuisine. She and her staff were welcoming and friendly and made us so relaxed it was like cooking with family. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely recommend it. And the bonus is you get to eat everything you cook so bring an appetite with you.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chef LeeZ review #320 “Brilliant Class, Brilliant Chef”

Brilliant Class, Brilliant Chef!” Review # 320 280314
Chef LeeZ - Kidz Can COok

Chef LeeZ – Kids Can Cook!

5 of 5 starsReviewed 29 March 2014     NEW 280314

Chef Leez organised a class for myself, my wife and best mate during the New Year celebrations. I was nervous about the class but needn’t have been as chef made us feel welcome and got us striaght to work! We created a full menu of delicious dishes and her sense of humour really helped the day go by easily. I really enjoyed learning how to make Massaman curry and its become something of a speciality since I got home. In addition, chef took us to the fresh food market and this was a real eye opener for the sheer range of food types from , livestock to eel via thousand year eggs. We really enjoyed this class and will definately be back next time we are in Bangkok. Absolute class!

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC