The complete guide to getting started with Portant Data Merge

Saturday, May 8, 2021

The complete guide to getting started with Portant Data Merge

We created Portant Data Merge to eliminate copy-paste from your document creation. Saving you from monotonous work or annoying copy-paste errors. Simply connect a source, add tags to a template document and place your documents on auto pilot.

Step 1 - Install and open the Add-on

The first step is to install the Add-on on your Google Workspace account. 

Click on Add-ons > Get Add-ons and then search for “Portant Data Merge”

Click on our page and then select Install

After you select install Google will ask you if you would like to continue. 

Then you need to select which Google account you would like to install Portant Data Merge on.

Google will display all the different access Portant Data Merge needs to operate. We have put together explanation plain english list below

  • See, edit, create and delete all of your Google Drive files - Make new folders and files in your drive, we never delete anything.
  • View and manage your Google Slides presentations - Insert tags into the presentation you have open
  • See, create and edit all Google Docs documents that you have access to - Insert tags into the document you have open
  • See, edit, create and delete your spreadsheets in Google Drive - Read data from your spreadsheets, to place it into created documents or presentations
  • View and manage your forms in Google Drive - Read data from the spreadsheets attached to your form, to place it into created documents or presentations
  • Connect to an external service - This is a general permission that allows us to send information between our servers and the add-on
  • Allow this application to run when you are not present - This permission enables automations to run when you don't have the application open
  • Display and run third-party web content in prompts and sidebars inside Google applications - This enables us to display content inside the add-on

Click Allow, then click Done and then you can close the Marketplace window

To open the Portant Data Merge, click on Add-ons > Portant Data Merge > Start

Step 2 - Forms or Sheets?

The first thing to decide is if you would like to connect a Google Sheet or a Google Form. 

  • Google Sheets is better if you already have a data set you would like to create documents from.
  • Google Forms is better if you don’t already have data and you’d like to create a document every time someone completes a form.
Top Tip - If there is a different integration you are looking for you can click the External Apps button (below the Google Form button). This is where you can vote on any integrations you would like to see Portant Data Merge work with in the future.

Step 3 - Connect your source file

Click the Choose File button to open the file picker window. This is where you can search for and select the Google Sheet or Form you would like to connect. After you have found and selected the correct file, click Select

If you have selected a Spreadsheet which has multiple sheets, you will need to select the sheet from the dropdown list before clicking Continue.


Top Tip - After you have selected the file, you can click the file name to open it in a new tab. Great for checking if everything is as you expect.


Note - For sheets, Portant requires the column headers to be in the first row of the spreadsheet.

Step 4 - Adding tags to your template

After you have selected the file, Portant Data Merge imports the column headers or questions into a table. We call this the Source Table. Each column (or question) in the source file appears as a separate row in the table.


Table Header Functions

  1. File name - you can use this to see the name of the file you have selected and also click on the name to open it in a different tab.
  2. Refresh - You can refresh the rows in the table if you have made any changes to the source file.
Adding a tag into your template

To add a tag into your template please follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor in the document where you’d like the tag to be inserted.
  2. Click the insert button in the Data sources table, next to the tag you’d like to place.
  3. Portant will then place your tag inside the document between two curly brackets (e.g. {{Tag}})
Edit a tag name

You can change tag names to make them shorter, or more understandable, by following these steps:

  1. Click the tag icon to the left of the Tag name.
  2. Enter the new tag name in the highlighted box
  3. Hit enter on your keyboard. You know the tag has been changed when the tag icon is blue and it displays the new tag name when you hover over the icon.


Note - Tag names need to be unique and can’t be the same as any other data source row or tag name.


Adding images

You can easily place an image into a document in 3 easy steps:

  1. Mark a row as an image by hovering over the row and clicking the image icon, located to the left of the insert button. This marks the row as an image row 
  2. Click the Insert button to add a placeholder image.
  3. This image can be moved and scaled in your document and then Portant will insert the source images with their native aspect ratio.
Note - Jpg, jpeg, png and gif file formats are supported


Step 5 - Naming your created files

Before you start creating documents, you can select your output documents’ name. In this section you can add {{tags}}, so each name can be customised.

Step 6 - Create

After you have entered all the {{tags}} into your template and named your outputs you can start creating documents.

Select how many documents you’d like to create

Portant automatically selects all the available data in the spreadsheet, from the second (the first row are the headers) to the last row of data. 

You can change the rows by entering different numbers in the ‘Start’ and ‘End’ boxes above the Start button.

Start 

To start creating documents click the Start button.

This will open a progress bar above the Data Sources Table where you can track the process of your documents. You can click this status bar to open the folder where the documents are being saved. Even while the automation is running.


Stopping the automation

If you need to stop the automation at any time you can press the ‘X’ next to the progress bar. The documents already created will be saved in the folder.


Behind the scenes 

After you have clicked the Start button Portant creates a folder. This folder is named the name of your template file with “[Outputs]” after it.


Note - You can edit the name and the location of this folder after it’s been created and Portant will still save documents to the renamed/relocated folder. If the folder is deleted or placed in the trash Portant will create a new folder with the same name as the original.
Viewing the output folder

After your first automation the View Created Documents button is placed above the Data Sources Table. You can always access the output document folder by clicking this button.

Automatically create documents

Portant can automatically check and make additional documents when there are changes to the source file. To enable this feature, select the check box below the Start button called ‘Automatically create documents’

When you select this box, Portant will check the sheet every hour for new rows and create documents

Sharing created documents

To automatically share generated documents select the checkbox under ‘Share’ called Automatically share created docs.

  1. Select the Email Column (Portant auto selects the first email column with email in the name)
  2. Optionally enter a custom message in the Email Message box

Portant will now share the document with the provided email address when it is created. It uses Google's native sharing method and standard email, for example:


Feedback and feature suggestions

We created Portant only a few months ago, so any feedback or suggestions you have for us would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to send us an email at contact@portant.co or use our contact form here: https://www.portant.co/support

Thanks,

Blake and James