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 FileMaker Pro Custom Functions

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MailMergePlus ( text ; highlight)

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  Average rating: 4.0  (45 votes)
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Peter Vinogradov, peter vinogradov consulting

Mailmerge function that preserves formatting of source text

Sample Input:
MailMergePlus ( "Dear <<FirstName>>, Welcome to <<SchoolName>>..."; 1)
Sample Output:
Dear John (in blue), Welcome to Cambridge University (in blue)...

 Then copy & paste into FileMaker Advanced's Edit Custom Function window.

Click here to copy To Clip Manager if you have myFMbutler's Clip Manager installed


A recursive function that replaces bracket-enclosed (<<>>) formulae or field references with evaluated results. Works similarly to Mike Duncan's "MailMerge" function (

Because it does not evaluate the entire output string, This method preserves formatting of the source text (including the format of the merge field/formula based on the format of the first bracket).

The "highlight" switch is used to return a blue coloration for the results of any merge fields/formulae. If this parameter is set to null ( "" ), then no special formatting is applied. This feature is useful for giving users a way to easily check the output of their merge letter.

Edit: Oops, just discovered that my merge formula is very similar (coincidentally, I swear) to the one in this function:
That one uses getfield() instead of evaluate, which is a good way of restricting the functionality so that users can't execute arbitrary calcs.
Edit 3-12-09: Thanks to Nick Lightbody for pointing out that the original formula chopped off the first two characters of the text if no merge fields <<>> are present. I have revised accordingly.

Note: these functions are not guaranteed or supported by Please contact the individual developer with any questions or problems.

This is my Custom Function and I want to edit it


Very useful being able to switch the hilite on and off.

However - it doesn't quite work right if the first characters in the string are not "<<" when it removes the first two characters.

Nick Lightbody, Haywards Heath
March 12, 2009 7:30am

You've done a top function here Peter, only barbarians won't appreciate it, I removed highlight thing, but ability to quickly and properly evaluate *anything* in <<merge brackets>> is awesome.

I'm using it for regular emails with multiple occurences of the same date in various formats - I used to keep not updating one or another of the dates - about 5 places in email (subject, headers, body etc), and now I just have a date in a field, and use some form of <<FormatTimestamp(myDate;"M jS")>> etc.

Very very useful. I would have had to write it myself otherwise. Thanks, Tom

Thomas Seidler, London
April 20, 2012 4:42pm

Fantastic cf.
However, it's easy to send this into an infinite loop:

field: "Hello World <<field>>"
MailMergePlus ( "<<field>>" ; "" )

One possible solution:

In "newtext = ", instead of just highlightMF, escape << and >>:

Substitute ( highlightMF ; ["<<" ; "\\<\\<" ] ; [">>" ; "\\>\\>" ] )

Then at the end, unescape << and >>

If ( moreMfs ; MailMergePlus (newtext ;highlight) ; Substitute ( newtext ; ["\\<\\<" ; "<<" ] ; ["\\>\\>" ; ">>" ] ) )

Mike, North Carolina
February 13, 2013 10:03am

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