Equisys technical notes

Technical guidance, explanations and fixes for our products

HOWTO: Use Zetadocs PDF to send personalised marketing mailshots with Act! 7.0 (2005) or Act! 8.0 (2006)



ID: ZTN3516

This Zetadocs technical note applies to:

  • Zetadocs PDF version 1.0 and later
  • Act! 7.0 (2005) and Act! 8.0 (2006)


Act! offers support for mail merge using Microsoft Word.  Using Mail Merge, Act! templates can be created that enable users to send Act! documents as PDF files, which can be merged with other PDF documents such as product brochures.  Using Zetadocs in this way, users can save time in document production costs and reduce printing costs, while offering customers a better customer service. Now with Zetadocs PDF v2.0 and later, you can also automatically store the sent item as a contact history item in the Act! database.

This document will explain the following:

  • How to embed Zetadocs PDF commands to a template within Act!
  • How to send marketing e-mail shot from within Act! that creates a personalised PDF and merges other documents at send time.
  • How to automatically store the sent quotation as a contact history item in the Act! database.

An example marketing template with pre-configured embedded commands can be downloaded from here.  Alternatively to modify your own quotation template, follow the instructions below. 

More information

How to embed Zetadocs PDF commands to an Act! template

Documents sent using mail merge from Act! are a combination of two elements, the content of the document itself and the contact data from the database.

When sending documents to Zetadocs PDF, it is possible to include commands that determine how the document is delivered to the recipient and what information it should contain. Referred to as Embedded Addressing commands, these specify the email address, subject line, message body and merged documents. These commands will be invisible to the recipient.

The following example modifies an existing template and uses basic commands to send PDFs by email to single and multiple recipients.  Please note, that this feature is currently supported using Microsoft Word only.

  1. Open the Act! application.
  2. Select 'Write | Edit Template' from Act! Menu bar.
  3. Select a template to edit.  In this example, we will open the template called 'Initial communication - Direct Marketing Letter.adt' from the list. Doing so will launch the Template within Word.

  1. At the very top of the Template insert the following commands:

%%[subject: < Company> ] - take advantage of this free needs analysis]
%%[email:< E-mail> ]

The Zetadocs commands can be inserted simply using the Word add in which is visible in the toolbar as shown in the screenshot below.

The < Company> and < E-mail> fields are the Act! fields that correspond to the company name and email address of the recipient. To insert these fields, open the Act! Mail Merge Fields dialogue box, by selecting 'Show Field List' from the 'ACT!' menu.  Select 'Company' from the list and click 'Insert'. Repeat the same process for inserting the Email address field.  Without these fields, it would be necessary to manually enter the company name and email address for each recipient.  Your document should look similar to the document shown in the screen below.

  1. Open Zetadocs PDF and open the accessories Window by selecting 'View' | 'Accessories Window'.  Select 'Stationery' from the 'Type' drop down box as in the diagram below, and choose the stationery you wish to merge this document to.

  1. With the stationery you wish to use highlighted, right-click and select 'Copy Automation Command' as in the screen below.

The following dialog will appear.

  1. Return to Microsoft Word processor, and select 'Paste' from the 'Edit' menu to paste the command into the document adjacent to the other commands.
  2. You can repeat this process with other accessories, for example if you wanted to attach a product brochure or price list to your email, copy and paste the command to the template document.
  3. When you have added all of the accessories you wish to add to your document, highlight the Zetadocs fields i.e. all fields beginning '%%['and select 'Format' from the menu bar.  Select 'Font' and from the 'Font Colour' drop down list and select the colour white. This will make the fields invisible in the final document.
  4. Once the Embedded Addressing commands have been inserted, save the document.
  5. Zetadocs PDF Embedded Addressing offers much greater functionality than described above, such as customizable text in the body of the email. For further information, please refer to the online help within Zetadocs.

How to send a personalised marketing email shot from within Act!

  1. Select Write | Mail Merge from the Act! toolbar.
  2. Select 'Word Processor' from the 'Select Output' dialog (stage 2 of the Wizard).
  3. Select the Template you created from the available list e.g. specialoffer.tpl.

  1. From the 'Select Contact' dialog select the recipients you wish to send the document to - either current lookup, current contact, all contacts, selected group or selected company.
  2. Click 'Finish'. The special offer letter will be merged with the customer contact information for your selected contacts and presented in a single document. This lets you preview the documents before sending them.  The Zetadocs PDF embedded commands will be included in the document, although they will be invisible as they are white.
  3. Print the Word document to the Zetadocs PDF printer.  If you have selected 'Hold for Preview' in the 'Tools' | 'Options' dialog, Zetadocs PDF will preview all of the documents before releasing them to be sent. 

  4. Choose 'Send All' from the Zetadocs PDF toolbar to distribute your documents via Outlook.
  5. If you want Zetadocs PDF 2.0 and above to automatically create a contact history item for you, skip the following steps and go to the next section.
  6. After you have printed the document to Zetadocs, you can save it and attach it to the customer record.  Choose 'Attach to Act!' from the 'ACT!' menu in Microsoft Word.  A 'Select Contacts' dialogue box will appear where you can choose where you wish to store the document.

  1. Click 'Ok' when you have selected the recipient(s). This will insert the document in the 'Document' tab of each of the contacts to whom the document was sent.

How to automatically store the contact history item in Act! (Zetadocs PDF v2.0 and above only)

  1. Reopen the Quotation template and add an extra embedded command by selecting Act! | Add a contact history from the menu on the Zetadocs PDF toolbar.

This will automatically add the following command:

%%[ActContactHistory: < MY:Company> , < Contact> , < Email> ]

Where MY:Company, Contact, and Email are Act! fields representing your company name, the name of the contact that the letter is being sent to, and the email address of the contact that the letter is being sent to respectively.

  1. You can also select which information is stored in the contact history using the %%[ActHistoryOptions] command. Please see the Zetadocs PDF help for details.
  2. Set up your Act! database in Zetadocs PDF by opening the Zetadocs PDF program and selecting Tools | Options from the menu.
  3. Select the Act! tab in the Options dialog.
  4. Select the Add button.
  5. Select the browse button ... and browse to the location of your Act! database file (.PAD extension).
  6. Enter a username and password if you are required to log in to the database, otherwise leave these fields blank.
  7. Select OK. If the database link is working, the database will appear in the list of Configured Act! Databases as shown in the screen below Note that you can add multiple databases. The correct database is chosen based on the < MY:Company> embedded command value.
  8. each time you send a Quote using Zetadocs PDF using the Quote template you modified, a copy of the quote will be archived against the history of the contact. This will happen just after the email has been successfully sent.

Last updated: 2nd December 2005 (SD/PC/EB/NL)

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