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Emailing tips


Dimwhit
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I know this has probably been mentioned a hundred times. I've looked around, but having found much. Can someone point me to a good explanation on how to email from within FileMaker? Basically, I have a layout that is a receipt. I'd like to be able to mail the contents of that layout to an email address (one of the fields). I know I can print it to pdf and do it manually, but how intensive is it to have it more automated in FM?

Thanks for the patience.

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Howdy, howdy! I'm probably not the best person to help you as I only rarely work w/e-mail but since no one's helped yet, I'll start w/a little and folks can chime in and correct me as needed....

I think of e-mail in FileMaker 2 different ways: one for web users and one for FMP clients. Based on your last statement about printing to PDF and sending manually, you'll probably be interested in the SEND MAIL script command. It's been 2-3 years since I did that, but I think you make a script using SEND MAIL and then SEND MAIL lets you choose TO: CC: SUBJECT: MESSAGE/BODY: and even ATTACHMENT: using either hard text or field values. I believe it then passes this informatiion to your default e-mail client (we use Eudora), which auto-launches or is already open, and creates a new message based on the values passed. I think we used a calculation field for the message body that concatenated both hard strings of text with field values to make a form letter... yeah, and I think we were limited on the number charcters of hard text between quote marks so made sure we used short phrases and joined them with the "&" ampersand characters.

I think you still have to press the "SEND/QUEUE" button in your e-mail client unless you use something like AppleScript (recent posts discuss this). Hmm.. I think I'm missing a step but can't quite remember. I hope that's enough for you to get started until you get it or someone else provides clearer, more complete help.

Good luck!

--ST

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Thanks both for the tips. I've got it down now to get the email sent, but it's the message body that confuses me. I would like to email the contents of a layout (both text and fields). I'm still a little confused on how to pull that one off. I think what would be even more ideal would be a script that would print the layout to pdf, then attach it to the auto-generated email. But that might be asking too much.

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Hi,

Generating a pdf and emailing it automatically is certainly possible, but how easier it is depends on what platform you're on and perhaps also on what software, utilities or plug-ins you have installed (or are able to source). It's generally easiest on OS X, as printing to pdf is a built-in feature of the operating system.

Beyond that, you might also like to pay a visit ti the Data Designs web site at:

http://www.datadesigns.com/index.htm

- and check out their iMailer product, which achieves a similar result via a different method. :

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Thanks CobaltSky. iMailer looks like a great option. But I sort of chocked on the pricetag.

I am using OSX, but I'm still not wed to the notion of sending a PDF attachment. If there is a way to send the layout in text within the body of the email, I'm all for it. Preferrably html, but plain text would do the job.

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Hi,

FileMaker doesn't natively support html email content. To do that you'd require an email plug-in - but I guess if you choked on the price of iMailer, you'll probably baulk at plug-in prices as well. But as is often the case, I'm afraid, you only get what you pay for.

If you want to build the appropriate content via script, you can place that into the body of an email easily enough, however there is a limited amount you can do to format the text. You can include tabs and spaces to try to position things as best you may, but you will have no control over the many fonts and display parameters that the myriad email client applications out there will use to display your efforts. So unless you know in advance what email applications (and with what settings) will be used by the recipient there is a reasonable chance your formats will not come out as intended.

You will probably get a more professional looking result using the pdf option, and given that you are on OS X it's fairly readily (and cheaply) available. But I'll leave you to weigh up the pros and cons. :

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For a sample of PDF creation and sending via email you can check out the sample on Fusion DZine http://www.fusiondzign.com/downloads/downloads.htm

AAutomate PDF creation and email integration (Mac OSX only)

No cost, except time involved.

I agree with Ray that a PDF will give you the best results without the cost of a plugin like SMTPit from www.cnsplug-ins.com

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andygaunt, thanks! The file I got from that site is exactly what I needed. At least it will be if I can get it to work. I'm having some problems, but being new at the whole scripting thing, that's not surprising. But assuming I can figure the tutorial out, that is exactly what I was trying to do.

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Hi johnbr,

The native emailing options within FileMaker Pro simply transfer text to the default email client apoplication, so there is no inbuilt support for inline html messaging.

It can be done, provided you have (or can obtain) one of the various third party email plug-ins such as SMTPit installed, and build up the appropriate scritps to call on the added capabilities they provide.

Some of the plug-in options include those detailed at the following URLs:

http://www.smtpit.com/

http://www.dacons.net/fmplugins/mailit/index.html

http://www.datamailcorp.com/email3.html

You'll find demo downloads and plentiful documentation at the vendor sites.

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Hi John,

If you place the html into a global field, then insert placemarkers where you want the data to go, you'll be able to set up a script that will generate the requried html with the field data inserted from each record.

If you want to go that way, you'll find an example file which may be of interest, at:

http://www.nightwing.com.au/FileMaker/demos6.html#d9

- under the heading 'Dynamic Merge Tags Within Field Text'. It shows a technique that could readily be adapted to this situation. The resulting text would then be picked up from the relevant field using the SMTP-HTMLBodyAssign function.

However if you would prefer to make the changes directly in a file that is stored outside FileMaker and simply have SMTPit pick up that file within the send mail script (eg using the: SMTP-HTMLFileBodyAssign function), you would need to use a plug-in such as Troi File that allows you to manipulate the contents of text files. Again, I'd suggest an approach which substitutes placemarkers on a record-by-record basis. :

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  • Newbies

This might be a little off of the subject, but I'm having a conflict with Mail 1.3.3 and FileMaker Pro 6. When I try to send an e-mail from my FM contacts database using the send mail script, it pastes the e-mail address in the the "To:" field twice. I have completely deleted my "Address Book" and de-selected the preference to automatically complete the address, but it still does it.

Does anyone have any ideas around this? Thank you very much for your time.

:

Colin

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