Creating Custom Letters with Letter Writer

Last Updated: Oct 05, 2016 07:57AM EDT
With Letter Writer, you can create custom letters and print them or email them to your users. In this article, we will show you how to create your own letters and send them to your users in absence management!

Feel free to follow this article step by step, or click one of the links below to jump to that topic.

Looking to send welcome letters? Click here to learn how to use a welcome letter template!

 Accessing Letter Writer

To access Letter Writer, click Reports in the side navigation bar, and select Letter Writer.  



On the next page, you will see categories of information that absence management has in its database. Click Create New located next to the category of the letter you would like to create.



Next, if you'd like, change the name of your letter by typing in the text box beside "Letter Template Name."



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Changing the Default Sender's Email Address

We strongly recommend changing the default email address to your own address before sending emails. To change the default sender's email address, click on the Email Parameters tab.



Here, you can edit the email's subject and sender's address. Click in the appropriate box that you want to edit and make your changes.

 
When you are ready to return to the letter-view, click the Letter Configuration tab.

 

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Viewing the Recipient List

We also strongly recommend that you double-check to see whom you're sending the letters to. This ensures that the letters will be emailed without any errors. While on the "Letter Configuration" tab, click View Recipients at the top-middle of your screen.

  

This will open a new window with a list of all the recipients. The recipients will change depending on whether you clicked on the template for employees, substitutes, or Campus Users. when you first opened Letter Writer. You can safely exit out of the window at any time by clicking the x on your web browser's tab.
Please make sure that your IT department has followed the instructions in the “IT Department Needs” document. This ensures that the emails you send will not be automatically put in your employees’ and substitutes’ spam folders.
 
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Selecting Recipients

If you'd like to send the letter to a specific group of people, you can use filters to do just that! First, click the Filter tab.



On this tab, you will see a list of available fields on the left and the fields you're using on the right. "Fields" are categories that sort and separate your recipients. For example, let's say you wanted to send this letter only to your teachers. To do this, click and drag the filter labeled Title under the category "Common Fields" to the large box under the "Letter Template" and "Filter" tabs.



In the text box, type "Teacher".



Now the letter will only be emailed to teachers. You can click and drag other filters as needed to adjust your recipients.To add more than one word or name in a list, separate them with semicolons. For example, in your "Title" filter, you would type "teachers" and "principals" as "Teacher; Principal". To remove a filter, click the trash icon located to the right of the text box.

 

We recommend including the "Active" filter since it ensures that you are only sending the letter to current employees. To return to the letter view, click on Letter Template.

 

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Creating the Body of the Letter

When you are ready to start creating your letter, click on the big white space to have a cursor appear. Then, simply start typing. While typing, you are able to use "Available Fields" to add "merge fields" in the body of the letter. Depending on which type of letter you are creating (Employee, Substitute, etc.) the Available Fields will be different. While typing your letter, simply scroll through the available fields and double-click the field you want.

Available Fields can also be used as filters to determine who the recipients would be when the letter is printed or emailed. Most will have a (F) which can be clicked to activate that field as a filter for the letter. For example, typing “Dear…” followed by the fields for “<<First Name>>” and “<<Last Name>>” will populate the letter with the appropriate information when printed or emailed. Double-clicking an available field or clicking the "plus sign" next to it will add that field wherever the cursor is in the body of the letter.



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Using the Text Editor

While typing the letter, you can format the letter using the text editor. In the image below, you can see some of the most commonly used tools in the text editor:
 
  1. Cut
  2. Copy
  3. Paste
  4. Undo
  5. Redo
  6. Font type
  7. Font size
  8. Bold
  9. Italics
  10. Underline
  11. Table creator
  12. Numbered list
  13. Bulleted list
  14. Text alignment (left, center, right, justified)

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Options for Sending the Letter

Once you have the letter named, the body typed, filters set, and the email parameters filled in, it's time to send the letter!
Want to send a letter to only one recipient? Click here to learn how! 
You will need to start by selecting which type of letter this is going to be: Private, Published, or Public.
  • Private Letters – Only viewable by those who created the letter.
  • Published Letters – They are able to be seen, used as a template, and run. None of the changes made when using the template will impact the original.
  • Public Letters – Open for edits by all Organization Users. Any change will impact the original.
Once you have this option selected, you will then need to select your next step.
  • Save – This will save the letter for you to use later.
  • Preview Letter – This displays the format of the letter. However, this will not show any of the available fields added to the letter populated.
  • View Recipients – Designed to show who is a recipient based upon the filters added to the letter.
  • Print Letter – Prints the letter for those listed as recipients.
  • Email Letter – Emails the letter to those listed as recipients.
  • Cancel – Cancels the letter and removes all information.
 

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Printing the Letter

If you prefer the snail-mail route, feel free to print your letters. Start from the "Letter Template" screen that displays your letter template. Then, click click Print Letter at the top of your screen.



You will be brought to a page with the letter in the background and a pop-up window in the front that provides some printing directions. It is very important that you follow those instructions to ensure your browser is configured correctly to print the letter without the various internet headers and footers. Once you have followed the printing directions, you are all set to print using your browser print function. Just click OK to close the pop-up window. Then, open your browser's menu and click Print (this is sometimes represented by a printer icon).

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Emailing the Letter

If you would like to email the letter, you simply need to click on the Email Letter button in the upper right of the page for.

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Letter Writer Tips:

Looking for a single space? - Hold the SHIFT key and hit the ENTER key to have a single space as opposed to the default double space. Filtering? Less may be best! – Not every Available Field that is added to the body of your letter needs to be a filter. Use some basic filters (Full Name, Employee Type, School, etc.) to get the best results.

Attachments? – Letter writer is currently not able to have attachments. That said, you can definitely add a link to the body of the letter if it is being emailed. That link will then be clickable to the recipient and will direct them wherever you wish for them to go. Check out this article for more on how to link to a file you have uploaded to a cloud storage account.

Other Helpful Letter Writer Articles:
Scheduling an Email with Letter Writer
Scheduling a Daily Letter with Letter Writer

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