Many of the notices, letters, or other documents that are sent to a Plan Sponsor in the course of administration will not vary greatly from year to year, or even from plan to plan. Often, a standard document template can be used a number of times, with the relevant plan information being inserted where appropriate. PensionPro's Merge Document Creation tool makes this task even easier, directly inserting Plan-related information into a template in just a few clicks.
Tier Availability: Business
Security Rights Required: Create Merge Documents
Overview & Prerequisites
Put simply, the Merge Document feature provides a means for inserting PensionPro data directly into a Microsoft Word document. This document, called a Template File, contains Merge Field coding that acts as a placeholder for the data to be inserted. This Template File is then uploaded to PensionPro and attached to a Merge Document Template, which defines the settings for the Merge Document so that they can be quickly applied each time a document is generated.
The types of information that can be inserted into a Merge Document is dependent on the PensionPro record that the Merge Document Creation tool is launched from. For example, launching the tool from a Plan would allow that Plan's data to be added into the file. Merge Documents can be used with the following record types:
- SalesPitch Proposals
Before a Merge Document can be created for a specific record type, a Merge Document Template (with a corresponding Template File attached) must exist, and its Source setting must match the record type. For more information on creating a Template, refer to the article Merge Document Templates.
Creating a Merge Document
The Merge Document Creation tool is a multi-step process during which a Template is selected, settings are applied, data is reviewed, and the document is created.
To get started:
- Navigate to the record that the Merge Document will retrieve information from (the Plan, Project, etc.).
- Select More in the tab header at the top-right, then select Create Merge Documents. The Merge Document Creation tool will open at Step 1.
The remaining sections detail each step of the Merge Document Creation tool.
Step 1: Options
The settings applied in this step will determine the output of the Merge Document. At first, only Template Name can be chosen. Select the desired Merge Document Template from the dropdown.
Once a Template is chosen, additional settings will be made available, such as Extension, Action, and Document Name. The values for these settings will be populated based on the defaults that are set in the Merge Document Template. Changes made to these values during this step are not saved to the Template, and will only affect the document being created.
- Extension: The file format of the final Merge Document. May be set to DOCX or PDF.
- Action: What happens to the Merge Document after creation. Available options are determined by the record type.
- Merged Document Name: The file name of the Merge Document after creation.
If the Template uses a Merge Field that applies to multiple data points—for example, a Zip Code for a Client that has multiple addresses on file—an option will be provided to select the desired entry. In some cases, an entry may be selected automatically based on the filters set in the Merge Document Template; refer to the section Template Filters in the article Merge Document Templates for more details.
If the Action is set to upload the created document to Plan, Project, Distribution, or Proposal Files, another selection of settings will be made available, such as File Description and Show On PSL; these will be applied after creation to the uploaded File. Refer to the article Files & Documents for more information on these settings.
When finished, select Next.
Step 2: Preview
The grid on this step displays each Merge Field identified within the Word Template File, along with the Value that will be inserted into the completed document. Review the information provided to ensure that the correct data is being inserted into the Merge Document.
If the Value for a Merge Field shows *** MISSING DATA ***, PensionPro cannot locate the data applicable to that Merge Field. This commonly occurs when no data has been entered. If Allow Missing Data is set to No in the Merge Document Template, this step cannot be completed until data has been entered. If set to Yes, the finalized Merge Document will simply show a blank space where the data would have been.
Select Refresh to update the information on this step. This may be helpful if a preview of the data resulted in changes being made to the Template or any fields being inserted.
When finished, select Next.
Step 3: Review
This step provides a chance to review the settings of the Merge Document Creation tool one final time before the document is created. Confirm the information shown, then select Execute to create the Merge Document.
Step 4: Finish
Once this step is reached, the Merge Document has been created. Depending on the Action chosen in Step 1, the document may be downloaded or added to Files, or the Add Secure File Exchange window will display, allowing the document to be sent via Secure File Exchange.
Regardless of the Action, the File can be downloaded at any point before closing this tab by selecting Download File. If the Merge Document is not downloaded or sent elsewhere at this time, and this tab is closed or refreshed, it will need to be re-created from the beginning of the process.
Select Start Over to reset the tool at Step 1.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it possible to create Merge Documents for multiple Plans/Projects/etc. at once?
At this time, Merge Documents must be created individually.
- The data is present when previewed in Step 2, but is blank in the created file. What is happening?
This may be due to the Template File using custom formatting for the merged data. Ensure that Use Custom Formatting is set to Yes in the Merge Document Template, then try again.
- Why are my images are not appearing when I create a Merge Document as a .pdf?
It is possible that the image is a series of Word objects grouped together, rather than a single image. If this is the case, ungroup the objects, then re-upload the Template File and try again. Refer to the Microsoft Support article Ungroup shapes, pictures, and other objects in Word↗.
- Some other element of my Merge Document looks fine when saved as .docx, but not .pdf. Why?
Unfortunately, conversion between .docx and .pdf file types is not an exact process, and PensionPro cannot guarantee that a converted .pdf will appear as desired. This issue is more common in documents with heavy styling and formatting.
- Can I post a new Merge Document directly to PlanSponsorLink?
Yes. For Plan, Project, and Distribution documents, ensure that the Action will upload the document to any Files view, and set the Show On PSL value to Yes.