The eLetters functionality allows Messenger to either:
- Produce a copy of SMS or Email messages as a printed letter for any contacts that would not receive the message as an SMS or Email where the system does not hold relevant contact details.
- Produce a traditional style letter for whole school distribution for those occasions in which a traditional printed approach is more suitable than email etc.
To create and generate an eLetter:
From the Home screen click on 'Send message' to be directed to the 'Message Recipients' tab and select the appropriate Message Format;
- If you want to produce a copy of an email/SMS etc then you must select those formats in addition to the letter option.
- We recommend that 'Letter' is always selected alongside other formats so that you do not inadvertently miss off a contact who does not have the required contact details.
- If you want to only produce a letter for printing then select the letter option on its own and ensure all other formats are unticked.
Proceed to 'Create Message' as you would for any other format ensuring you complete all tabs as required - be sure to untick the 'content same as SMS' checkbox for any format you need to amend.
Prior to creating an eLetter it is essential that your account has been set up with at least one letter template. Messenger v5's eLetter functionality is configured by default to have a template that displays your school logo, school address, 'today's' date and a student reference area showing the pupil name and registration class; letters can then easily be given to the relevant recipient once printed. You must provide these details to Messenger v5 however by personalising the Default Letter Template - see below on how to do this.
If you are unsure whether your account has a letter template with personalised details simply create your letter and choose 'preview' - if you see a relevant letterhead on the preview, the set-up has been completed! If you would like to setup a template other than the default one, you can Create a new Messenger v5 Letter Template - again see below on how to do this.
Personalise Messenger v5 Default Letter Template
To set up the default template go to Tools > Account Settings and scroll to Contact Details. Here you can upload a logo and complete the fields with relevant details as shown to the right. Please note, you will need to have administrator rights in order to access the Account Settings area of Messenger v5 - please speak to your Groupcall Administrator if you do not have access.
Create a new Messenger v5 Letter Template
To create a new template for Messenger v5 go to Tools > Manage Letter Templates. You will need to have administrator rights in order to access the Account Settings area of Messenger v5 - please speak to your Groupcall Administrator if you do not have access.
- Select 'Add a Template'.
- Choose the relevant paper size and orientation.
- Give the template a suitable name.
- If relevant, tick the 'Make this as default?' check box.
- This will apply the template to all Letters generated in future by default, but an alternative template can be selected at the time of composition if desired.
- Click on 'Header' to begin creating the Letterhead.
- At first you will see a WYSIWYG editor where you can apply formatting to your text and insert pictures at the press of a button. Text can be formatted using the Bold, Italic, and Underline functions as well as Aligning text and inserting Tables and images.
- Under 'Insert Fields', you can insert any of the standard Messenger v5 Tokens in addition to those specific school details that have been set up in Tools > Account Settings > Contact Details.
- Don't forget to include:
- the School logo and address
- the date so that recipients know when you sent the letter
- a reference line such as "$StudentName$ $StudentReg$" so that once printed letters can be easily distributed.
Please note that templates can also be accessed within Messenger by clicking on to the letter tab within Create Message, clicking on Create New or Edit and following the instructions above.
Repeat steps above for the footer if required.
- At any point you can click 'Preview' to see what your letterhead looks like.
- When you are happy with the letter template, click 'Save'.
- Repeat for any additional templates you require.
Alternatively you can edit the Default Template by opening it and saving it with a different name. This may be appropriate when the Default Template is pretty much as you require, but you just wish to add/remove a field.
Please note you can create your template in the HTML editor should you prefer and have relevant knowledge.
Postal Address token to allow for Mail Merged Letters (SIMS only)
- Simply insert the token $homeaddress$ wherever you would like a contact's home address to appear.
- Why not update your letter templates now to include this by default?
Create your Letters/Messages:
Once you have selected your distribution list, chosen the contact method, selected the message frequency and chosen the message formats, click on Create Message where you can now begin to create your message(s).
- Select Message Type from the 3 types of Messages available.
- Enter message text, taking note of SMS character limits where appropriate.
i - For each message format (SMS, Email, Voice, Letter) active formats will be identified by a bracketed number showing the number of available contacts for that message format. In the above example 13 SMS contacts, 79 voice contacts and 90 Email contacts will receive a message based on the selections made in the 'Message Recipients' screen as SMS, Voice and Email were all selected. If a format was not ticked, that tab would not show a number.
ii - SMS forms the priority option in Messenger and a copy of the SMS text will be applied before any other selected formats. If you wish to override this functionality, simply untick the 'content same as SMS' box and edit the text as required.
iii - You can also select from the message library and then edit accordingly or enter new text.
- If you have parents listed with English as a second language on your MIS, you have the option to tick the 'Translate Message' option to enable Multi Language sending of SMS and Email.
a - In order to check the translations generated, click on 'View/Modify Translations'.
b - Be sure to click on 'Reset Translations' if you make any changes to the message content.
- If you have chosen the eLetters functionality you may like to see a PDF preview of your letter complete with Letterhead Template - this can be accessed by selecting the green 'preview' button located to the right of the text entry box.
- The area will go red as a notification if you exceed 160 characters. This limit doesn’t apply to email.
- You will not be able to type more than 160 characters.
If you have ‘Email content same as SMS’ selected, then you need to un-tick this to edit the email message and allow more than 160 characters to be typed into the email message body.
Once you are happy with your message(s) select ‘Next’ to go to the...
“Preview & Send” Screen.
From here you can choose to send messages ‘now’ or schedule them for sending later in the day or even a date in the future! You can also send a preview to e.g. your own phone to see what the message will look like before you send it to your distribution list.
If you are using the eLetter functionality when you select 'send now' or 'schedule' your letter will be generated in a PDF format. Depending on the number of letters being generated this may take a few minutes but once complete you will be given a link to download your letters - this link will also be emailed to you so that you do not have to wait for it to be generated. Click on the pdf link and print your letters off as required.
You can now access the 'History' area of Messenger v5 to see the message status, including replies and delivery statuses as well as the resultant translations of any multi-language recipients if desired, by clicking the white 'Show Status of this Message' button.