Page Layouts

Populi lets you upload Open Document files for use as Page Layouts. Layouts correspond to the paper trays in a printer. For instance, you might have a tray for #10 envelopes, another for plain 8.5" x 11" documents, yet another with fancy paper for official transcripts, and so on.

Wait! What are Open Document files? Open Document refers simply to a type of file that can be opened by multiple word processing programs. MS Word 2007 SP2 and later can open Open Documents, as can the free Open Office suite. To work with Populi Page Layouts, the file extension just needs to be .odt.

We strongly recommend going with Open Office. MS Word can open .odt files, but it messes with the formatting—a lot... enough so that we're steering our users away from using Word for Page Layouts.

An Example of How it Works

When you send a Printed Letter to the Print Queue, Populi takes the Body from the Letter Template, replaces any variables with the appropriate Sender and Recipient information, and plugs the resulting Body content into an Open Document file (.odt). This .odt reproduces the information in the Layout—which might include images, a header, page numbers, variables, fonts, formatting... basically anything you can do to a regular document—for as many recipients as are included in the mailing. After you run a print job, you can then print addressed envelopes or mailing labels (which have their own Layouts) to complete the mailing.

What kind of Layouts are available?

Populi lets you do custom layouts for Printed Letters, Envelopes, and Mailing Labels. Those are covered in this help article, and those are completely under your control.

Additionally, you can use custom Transcript and Receipt Layouts. They use a lot of advanced variables that aren't covered in this article. Contact Populi Support if you'd like to get started using one of those Layouts.

Creating a New Layout

What should I include in a Layout?

First, it depends what kind of Layout you're creating. Populi has three types of Layouts: Letters, Envelopes, and Mailing Labels.

The important thing to include in a Layout are the variables. Variables are a kind of special code that Populi replaces with actual information when you run the Print Job. For example, {!RECIPIENT_ADDRESS!} would get swapped out for, say, "184 Main Street, McCook, NE 69001" when you print envelopes. There's a full list of variables below.

Beyond that, Layouts only need to be very basic—a letterhead image, maybe an address, perhaps a footer with page numbers... again, it depends on what kind of document it is and what you need the Layout to do.

Are there any special settings in Open Office I should know about?

Yes, there are. Since most Print Jobs will be sent to multiple people, it's very important to get certain document formatting items set up. The following instructions tell you what to do in Open Office.

Page Breaks

Properly setting up your Page Breaks ensures that when you create a Print Job sent to multiple people, each Letter will start on its own page. For example, two half-page Letters would print on two separate pages instead of both crowding onto the same page.

At the very top of your Layout document (say, where the cursor appears when you first open the program), do the following:

Click Format, then Paragraph. Click Text Flow, and under the Breaks section, check Insert. For Type, select Page; for Position, select Before.

Page Numbering

If you're including Page Numbers in your Layout, use these settings to have the Page Numbers re-set for each Letter in the Print Job. For example, two three-page Letters would produce a six page document with pages numbered 1,2,3,1,2,3. Unfortunately, this doesn't also re-set the Page Count (i.e. Page 1 of 3); for this reason, we recommend not including the Page Count field in your Page Numbering.

At the very top of your Layout document (say, where the cursor appears when you first open the program), do the following:

Click Format, then Paragraph. Click Text Flow, and under the Breaks section, check With Page Style. For Type, select Default; for Page number, select 1.

Special Settings for Envelopes

In Open Office, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your envelopes print properly.

Page Break Settings: See above for how to set up Page Breaks; those same settings apply to envelopes.

Text Frame Anchors: In Open Office, the Return Address and Addressee text appear in Text Frames.

Right-click the outline of the Text Frame. Select Frame from the menu.

Click Type; under Anchor, select To paragraph and click OK.

Do this for both frames!

How should I use Variables?

Below is a list of the Variables available to you for use in Layouts. These same Variables can be used in Email and Letter Templates. For that reason, make sure that the Variables on the Template and the Layout don't "overlap". For instance, if you included the Recipients' Name and Address in both, Letters would print with everyone's name and address twice.

Two things!

When you use these Variables, make sure you type them properly. If you don't, Populi won't catch them and you might send out Letters with some half-baked code stuck in the middle.

Any formatting you apply to the Variables will be applied to the text that replaces them in the Print Jobs. For example, if you put Body in italics in the Layout, all of the Template content will print in italics.

Variables don't work in document headers or footers.

Letter Layout Variables

{!BODY!} This Variable gets swapped out for the content in a Letter Template, including any Variables used in the Template.

{!DATE!} The Date the Print Job is first created.

{!RECIPIENT_PREFIX!}     {!RECIPIENT_FIRSTNAME!}     {!RECIPIENT_LASTNAME!}: Recipient name Variables speak for themselves.

{!RECIPIENT_ADDRESS!}: The recipient's Primary Address.

{!SENDER_PREFIX!}     {!SENDER_FIRSTNAME!}     {!SENDER_LASTNAME!}: Sender name Variables, likewise, speak for themselves.

{!SENDER_TITLE!} This is the sender's title as shown on their Profile.

Envelopes and Mailing Label Variables

{!RECIPIENT_FORMALNAME!}: The formal name includes prefixes (Mr., Dr., etc.), First, Last, and Suffixes (Jr., Sr., etc.). Also, if you're including spouses in a mail merge, this will lump their names into one Formal Name (adhering as faithfully as possible to Emily Post...).

{!RECIPIENT_ADDRESS!}: The recipient's Primary Address.

{!REPEAT!} Mailing Labels only! For Mailing Labels, in the top left label frame, enter the two Recipient Variables; in the remaining frames, you only need to enter the Repeat Variable.

Receipt Variables

{!PAYER_NAME!}     {!PAYER_ADDRESS!}: The name and address of the Payer (whether the student, a third party, or an organization).

{!STUDENT_FIRST!}     {!STUDENT_LAST!}     {!STUDENT_ID!}: The student whose account the payment (or refund) was applied to.

{!TRANSACTION_NUMBER!}     {!POSTED_DATE!}     {!ADDED_TIME!}: The transaction, and the date and time it was posted.

{!AMOUNT!}     {!METHOD!}: How much was paid (or refunded)? How was the amount paid or refunded (i.e. cash, credit card, etc.)?

{!PAYMENT_TYPE!}: Is this a Payment or a Refund? Populi will figure it out and insert the correct type here. Don't get this confused with the Payment Method variable!

{!REFUND_MESSAGE!}: If the Payment Type is a Refund, Populi will insert the following message: This receipt represents a refund made from (insert institution name) to another party.

Adding a Page Layout to Populi

Once you save your Open Office document, you can upload it for use in Populi.

Click Add a Page Layout.

Give it a Name and select the Type (Letter, Envelope, or Mailing Label).

Browse for your .odt file and click Save.

Editing Layouts

Click the Layout Name on the Page Layouts tab. You can download the current .odt or upload a new one.

You can also Proofthe Layout—this fills in some nonsense text so you can get an idea how it looks when you use it in a Print Job... and also lets you check your work (formatting, page breaks, etc.).

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    Patrick Friesen

    When you are creating an envelope or label can you select the individual fields within an address? Like {Recipient_Street}?

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