PLEASE NOTE:
The majority of the contents in this guide apply to both StudioPlus Spectra AND myStratus Desktop.
In most cases, instructions referring to "Spectra" also apply to myStratus Desktop.
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Home > Communication > Form Letter Builder
Form Letter Builder

    
NOTE: This feature is available in the Standard, Professional, and Enterprise versions of both Spectra and myStratus Desktop.

Form Letter Overview

The Form Letter Builder is essentially a built-in text editor you use to create form letters that can be used in the software. The form letters you create can be:

  • Printed for mass mailing.
  • Sent as an email, either to a single client or in bulk. 
  • Sent as a text message, either to a single client or in bulk.
  • Used as a contract.
Form letters can include:
  • Merge fields
  • Formatted text
  • Images
  • Links
  • Automatic attachments (such as invoices and image detail sheets)

HTML Email vs. Email Form Letters

Check out HTML Emails vs. Email Form Letters to find out the difference between HTML emails and email form letters.

PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS...  

How do you currently market to your customers? Do you know what your customers’ interests are? Do you tailor and personalize your marketing to each client? Using the software to its fullest potential can greatly help you increase your studio’s revenue. Give some thought to how you can utilize Spectra/myStratus to more effectively market your products and services to your client base.

Watch the video and/or following the instructions below to create a form letter.

Creating a Form Letter

  1. Go to Tools > Design Tools > Form Letter Builder.

  2. Click Add to create a new form letter. 

  3. Start by choosing the general properties of the form letter. You can edit these settings later if needed.


  4. Click OK to save these properties and open the text editor. Note: You can go back and modify these settings after you've started editing your letter by going to File > Properties.

  5. Use the text editor to design your form letter. Just start typing! Use the instructions in the Designing your Form Letter section below to learn more about:

    • Formatting the Text

    • Adding Images

    • Adding Links 

    • Inserting Merge Fields

    • Adding a Text Box 

    • Inserting a Table

    • Copying and Pasting

    • Importing a Word Doc

    • Form Letter Builder Reference -  See a description of all the tools and tabs on the ribbon.

  6. Save the form letter when finished.

Designing your Form Letter

Formatting the Text

Tools for formatting your text appear on the ribbon, as well as on the Format menu. Work with text as you would in any word processor. Here's an example of how to change the font style and color.

  1. Highlight the text you want to format.

  2. Open the Format menu and click Character to open the font window. From this window you can change both the font and the color, along with several other choices.

  3. Click OK when finished.
Formatting Tips
  • Keep emails simple! Every email system is different and that means your formatting may not look the same on your client's computer. If you want to send a more polished email or newsletter, use the HTML Email Builder instead.
  • Keep text messages short! Remember, text messages are limited to xxx characters. If your form letter text is longer, the software will automatically divide it into multiple messages. That means you may end up sending multiple several messages to each client. All those messages count toward your monthly total.

Adding Images

  1. Place your insertion point where you want to insert the image.

  2. Open the Insert menu and click Image.

  3. Browse to the image on your computer and click Open to insert it into your letter. Note: To find the image you're looking for, you may need to change the image type (see below).

  4. After you've inserted an image, you may want to change the format. Select the image in your form letter and go to Format > Image. This will open the image attributes window where you change things such as wrapping, alignment, and more. 

  5. Click OK when finished.

Image Tips

  • To embed or not to embed? Embedding images can significantly impact the size of your Spectra/myStratus database. We recommend using the "Embed original file reference" option. To set this option, go to Format > Image and click the Saving Options tab.
  • Consider an HTML email instead! If you want to use more than just a simple image (i.e., a logo), consider building a HTML email instead. Form letters can include images, however, they are handled differently and can cause issues with database size, performance when sending many emails, and inconsistent formatting for your recipients.

Adding Links

Inserting Merge Fields


Adding a Text Frame

Use a text frame to insert some additional text or data fields in your form letter. The basic content of your form letter can wrap around a text frame. You can also easily move a text frame by simply dragging and dropping it.   

  1. Place insertion point where you want the text frame.

  2. Open the Insert menu and click Text Frame.

  3. You can type in the text frame. Note: The text frame will NOT automatically resize as you type. Click the edge of the text frame and then use the handles to resize it. 

  4. You may also want to format the text frame. To do this, select the text frame (handles will appear) and then go to Format > Text Frame.

  5. Use the text frame attributes window to adjust location, wrapping, margins, color, borders, and more.

  6. Click OK when finished.

Inserting a Table

Use the Table menu to insert and format a table. A table is like a mini-spreadsheet, with rows and columns.

  1. Place your insertion point where you want to create your table.

  2. Open the Table menu and go to Insert > Table.

  3. Choose the number of rows and columns for your table and then click OK.

  4. You can enter text and/or data fields in the cells of your table.

  5. To format the table, just select the table and go to Table > Properties. Note: You can also right-click in the table and then choose Table Properties from the right-click menu.

  6. Use the table properties window to add borders, adjust the color, change the size and more.

  7. Click OK when finished.

  8. You can also use the Table menu to insert or delete a row or column, select a row or column,  and even split the table into two.

 

Copying and Pasting

coming soon

Importing a Word Doc

coming soon

Previewing and Printing a Form Letter

HERE'S A FLASH FOR YOU!

With the release of Spectra 2012, the process for printing a form letter has been incorporated into the new Communication Wizard. Please refer to that topic if you're using Spectra 2012 or greater. The following instructions for printing a group of letters apply to versions of StudioPlus Spectra prior to 2012.

HERE'S A FLASH FOR YOU!

Form letters can also be printed for a single client from the Communication tab on either the client, session, or invoice record.

Example of a Form Letter

Form letters are a great way to follow up with clients or prospective clients on a personalized basis. By creating a specific filter and form letter for a target group, your marketing becomes more effective. The following is an example of an email form letter confirming an upcoming session:


Hi Melissa!

Thank you for scheduling your engagement session with us! According to our records, your session is scheduled for July 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM. Please see the attached session confirmation for important information regarding your session. We've also included a brochure with details about our various products and services.  

We look forward to seeing you on July 12, 2016. If you need to reschedule your session, please let us know 24 hours in advance.

Sincerely,
Bob Robertson

The Studio, Inc.
300 N. Main Street
Jacksonville, MN 55630
444-555-6666

Form Letter Builder Reference

File Menu

Name Description
New Create a new form letter. This will open the Letter Properties window so you can start a new form letter.
Import Import a letter that is saved in Microsoft Word. After importing, you may need to adjust the formatting. You will also need to insert your data fields.
Save Save the changes you've made to the letter.
Export
Export the letter to a Word doc, PDF, text, or HTML file. Note: Merge fields will NOT be populated.
Page Setup Adjust the paper size, source, orientation, and margins. Here's a tip: Change the paper size to easily create many different types of form letters. Create a form letter to print on envelopes, postcards, filing cards, or other types of paper. Studios in Europe and Australia can set the paper size to A4 for printing standard letters.
Print Preview Open the preview window to see how the letter will look when printed. Note: Merge fields will not be populated when previewing a letter.
Print Print the letter. Note: Merge fields will NOT be populated when printing from the Form Letter Builder. Use the Communication Wizard or print from a client, session, or other record to actually merge data into your merge fields. See also: Communication Wizard
Properties Change the letter properties, such as the description, filter type, creator, and email subject.

Edit Menu

Name Description
Undo/Redo
Cut, Copy & Paste
Delete
Select All

Find/Replace
Hyperlink
Check Spelling

View Menu

Name Description
Normal/Page Layout Switch between normal and page layout view.
Headers & Footers - not available - 
Bars Choose to view or hide the toolbar, button bar, status bar, and the rulers.
Zoom Zoom in or out on the letter.

Insert Menu

Name Description
Data Field Insert a data field to merge information from a record (i.e.,  client name). The data field options displayed will differ based on the  record.
Date
Image
Text Frame
A text frame is a box that you can use for text or data fields. To format the text frame you can resize it using the mouse, or hover over the edge of the text frame, then right-click and choose Format Text Frame. In the Text Frame Attributes window you can set the layout and position, as well as the size and distance. Also, set the frame and color options for the background color, frame line, and internal margin.
Hyperlink Inserting a Hyperlink allows you to insert a link to an external page or file.
Page Break Insert a Page Break to start a new page in the letter.

Format Menu

Name Description
Character Choose font, size, position, attributes, color, and background. 
Paragraph Choose alignment, indents, paragraph spacing, borders, frames, and pagination.
Tabs Create tab stops, including right, center, left, and decimal tabs.
Bullets and Numbering
Choose styles, symbols, numbering, etc.
Styles Set up styles that can be used throughout the form letter.
Headers/Footers - not available - 
Image Image options including wrapping, position, alignment, size, spacing, and saving options. Saving options determine whether the image is embedded in the document or simply referenced, affecting the size of your database.
Text Frame Format options include wrapping, position, alignment, size, spacing, color, and borders. 
Colors Choose text, background, and page background colors.

Table Menu

Name Description
Insert Insert a table, row, or column.
Delete Delete selected table, row(s), or column(s).
Split Split table above or below insertion point.
Select Select a table, row, or column.
Grid Lines Turn grid lines off and on.
Properties Choose frame, background color, margins, size, and alignment.


See also


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