How can I select pre-written paragraphs to insert into letter?
March 9, 2013 9:56 AM   Subscribe

I have a scenario where I have to evaluate work performance. There are 5 categories I'm evaluating. Now when the person fails to meet a benchmark, I want to send him a letter explaining why he didn't meet the benchmark. So I have 5 paragraphs (one for each category) that explains what was wrong and how to fix it. Instead of copying and pasting from a document to create the letter, I'd like to be able to select from a list of responses, and have those responses formatted in a letter form. More after the the jump.

So instead of:

Dear Employee,

Thank you for your performance assessment. Unfortunately, you did not pass in the following areas:

[assessment 1]
[assessment 3]

You will be eligible to retake the assessment after 30 days. Use this time to ....



The 5 assessments are pre written paragraphs, so I just want to insert them in the letter in some fashion like above. Could be a drop down list, a wizard, dialog box... whichever works. I have Office 2010, but I'm open to purchasing software that makes that job easier too.

Much thanks
posted by FireStyle to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You can use mail merge in Word to do that uses fields to insert the paragraphs you want. It's not that difficult to set up and there's a wizard that will run you through it.
posted by patheral at 10:01 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use QuickParts for stuff like this. It's a function available in Office (or at least in Word and Outlook; not sure about the rest of the suite). Basically, it saves blocks of text that you can then insert into whatever document you're working on.
posted by cellar door at 10:09 AM on March 9, 2013

There's a Mac app called Textexpander that will do this. You could set it up to generate the entire letter with options for the paragraphs, or you could just set it up so that ;assessment1 (or anything else) would drop in that paragraph.

There are probably similar Windows programs.
posted by brentajones at 10:19 AM on March 9, 2013

Perhaps this little Texter tool from Lifehacker will do the trick?
posted by JDHarper at 10:38 AM on March 9, 2013

Could you just create a template letter containing all 5 paragraphs, and then delete those that don't apply?
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2013

Seconding Quickparts. I use it all the time for precisely the kind of task you are describing.
posted by jcworth at 11:02 AM on March 9, 2013

Are you in a a scenario where this kind of form-letter feedback is okay?

If you are specifically required to use a template for the letters, it's easy peasy to use quickparts or create a drop-down list or make a merge doc or any number of things.

If you are not specifically required to use a set template, IMHO this is not a good way to motivate a struggling employee.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:11 PM on March 9, 2013

thanks for the replies. Quick Parts was exactly what I was looking for, it worked great! Textexpander looked nice too, but we're in a windows-centric environment. I have a mac as well however, so I may get that for myself.
posted by FireStyle at 8:09 AM on March 10, 2013

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