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ENHANCED TECHNIQUE for MERGING DATA FROM a SECOND DOCUMENT

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000040216D
Original Publication Date: 1987-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-02
Document File: 4 page(s) / 85K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Harris, J: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

By merging names, addresses, and other information into a "shell" document, it is possible to easily produce a personalized letter that appears to have been typed specifically for the recipient. This enhanced technique enhances the IBM Displaywrite word processing program for the IBM System/36 computer so that an operator can insert information from a second separate document into places in the main "shell" document. Both the IBM System 36 computer and the Displaywrite word processing program for this computer have published technical manuals available to the public so this description will assume that the basic information on these is at hand.

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ENHANCED TECHNIQUE for MERGING DATA FROM a SECOND DOCUMENT

By merging names, addresses, and other information into a "shell" document, it is possible to easily produce a personalized letter that appears to have been typed specifically for the recipient. This enhanced technique enhances the IBM Displaywrite word processing program for the IBM System/36 computer so that an operator can insert information from a second separate document into places in the main "shell" document. Both the IBM System 36 computer and the Displaywrite word processing program for this computer have published technical manuals available to the public so this description will assume that the basic information on these is at hand. The Displaywrite program, as published, has available several instructions that allow a user to specify places in a document that indicate that variable data, as from a disk file, will be merged into this document to produce multiple copies of this document. These instructions are: 1. The data field instruction "&" that indicates

places where variable data will be inserted into

the document.

(Image Omitted)

2. The begin/end conditional text instructions

(bct/ect) (begin conditional text and end

conditional text) that allow variable data to be

tested to conditionally allow text to be included

in each copy of the document. The enhanced program hereof enhances the two data merge instructions to allow the user to

specify that the data is to be merged from a typed

stored "fill in" document into places in a "shell"

document. This allows the user to use the

Displaywrite program and the System 36 computer to

enter and store their data. When a user specifies that the variable data will be merged from a document they must create the "fill-in" document to store the data. A "fill-in" document is created the same as any Displaywrite document. However, the text of the "fill-in" document is in one of two special formats. These formats are referred to as "row format" and "column format". In a "row format" fill-in document the user first lists the name of each merge field on a separate line. After all of the fields have been listed, a blank line is inserted. The user then enters the data for each field on a separate line. After each group of fields, a blank line is inserted to indicate the end of the record. For example, to create five records with name, address, and amount in each record, the "row format" fill-in document would be created as: &NAME

&ADDR

&AMOUNT

1

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John Smith

123 Main St.

$12.34

Mary Smith

123 Main St.

$5.00

William Jones

2222 Broadway Blvd.

$6478.23

Jane Doe

999 19th Ave.

$1.00

Robert Johnson

4900 49th St. NW

$0.00 In a "column format" fill-in document the user first lists the name of each merge field on the first line of the document.

After all of the fields have been listed, the data is entered in columns under the field names. Each line is one record of data. For example, to create a "column format" fill-in document...