Creating and Using Forms, and Extracting Data for Mail Merge

I’m part of Peace Lutheran Church’s HOPE Jobs Fair team preparing to assist unemployed homeless and other individuals to re-enter the workforce. As part of this effort, we are helping these individuals prepare resumes to present to prospective employers.
To streamline the process for the 100s of applicants we anticipate serving, I have adapted a form-filling process that I have been asked to use by my financial institutions to provide them data about me. This process uses Adobe Acrobat Pro, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Microsoft Word.
By using this process, we can standardize the type and look of information applicants present employers. By using standard software that is widely available for Windows, Mac, and Android platforms, and forms that are simple to fill out, we can accept entries from many different preparers — applicants, service agencies, our church volunteers — who do not need much training or experience. The applications can be saved and edited to produce revised resumes. Also, by preparing differently formatted resume masters, we can produce resumes with different look and feel from the same data on file without requiring re-entering data.
While this process spreads much of the work of preparing many resumes to many with basic form filling and MS Word skills, it does call for an individual or small team with some experience with Acrobat and Word. As my own experience was quite dated, I had to re-learn how to locate and use the various tools that Adobe provides. Similarly, Microsoft has changed Word and its location of Mail Merge features has been changed over time requiring work to re-learn their process.
Now that my re-learning is complete, I’ve documented the steps required to help me and others tackle the job more easily in the future.
Here are the steps in the process that I came up with, using the latest Adobe and Microsoft products on my Mac.
  1. Produce .pdf form with Adobe Acrobat Pro, using a model form downloaded from the InternetHOPE Step 1
    1. Use Edit PDF tool to modify layout of formHOPE Step 1a
    2. Use Prepare Form tool to edit form’s entry fieldsHOPE Step 1b
    3. File>Save As to save the form with a name indicating version date
    4. Within Prepare Form click Distribute button …HOPE Step 1d
    5. … use Email, continueHOPE Step 1e
    6. Save a local copy and manually send it later, NextHOPE Step 1f
    7. Don’t bother with Collect name & email from recipients, Finish
    8. Close the Tracker windowHOPE Step 1h
  2. Email forms to desired recipient organizations and individuals
    1. Forms can be printed for easy completion by hand
    2. Optional: Show recipients how the data on the forms will look at the end of the process, with the resulting resume
  3. Receive completed forms from applicants and enter data
    1. Download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC in Windows, Mac, or Android computer from https://get.adobe.com/reader/
    2. Open the latest .pdf Job Seeker Application form fileHOPE Step 3b
      1. Even though the applicant may have used an earlier version of the form, all the fields of earlier forms are in the latest form file
    3. Enter the data in the appropriate fields on the form
    4. Print out the form and provide to applicant to review & correct
    5. Save As the entered form with the applicant’s name inserted in the front of the filename, but keeping the rest of the filename intact so we can identify which version of the form was used enter the data
    6. Email the saved form to the HOPE team
  4. Open the latest Job Seeker Application PDF Form mmddyy_responses.pdf file in Adobe Acrobat ProHOPE Step 4
    1. Click Get StartedHOPE Step 4a
  5. Add completed .pdf files
    1. Click Add in left barHOPE Step 5a
    2. In Add Returned Forms, Add File
    3. Click on completed .pdf files to add, holding Command/Ctrl key to select multiple files, Open, OK.
      1. If Acrobat gives a warning message about fields not exactly matching, accept with YesHOPE Step 5c
    4. Continue steps 5.b. and 5.c. to add more files
  6. Export list file for Word Mail Merge
    1. If you want to produce resume just for new files, Command/Ctrl click on the new filesHOPE Step 6a
    2. Click Export in left bar
    3. Click Export all or Export selected
    4. In Select Folder To Save File window, select where to save the CSV Format file for Word to Mail MergeHOPE Step 6d
    5. Close Acrobat Pro
  7. Produce draft resumes with MS Word Mail Merge from exported Adobe form fields
    1. Open Entry Resume Master in Word
    2. Use Mail Merge wizard to:
      1. Create Letters using the Master documentHOPE Step 7a
      2. Select Recipients, Using Existing List …HOPE Step 7b2a
      3. …selecting the CSV Format file created in 6.4.HOPE Step 7b2b
      4. Preview ResultsHOPE Step 7b3
      5. Finish & Merge, Edit Individual Documents, to create draft resumesHOPE Step 7b4
      6. File>Save As to save draft resumes as a .docx fileHOPE Step 7b5
    3. Edit the draft resumes
      1. Remove lines created from empty fields
      2. Select pages for an individual’s resume, Edit>Copy, File>New, Edit>Paste, Save to create resume file for each Name
      3. Repeat previous step for each individual
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Year of the Monkey

Happy New Year!

Few Chinese Horoscope books contain overall prognostications for the year. In my large collection of these books, one of the few that does is the first edition of Theodora Lau’s The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, published in 1979. Unfortunately, in the later editions of this book, her overall predictions for each year have been removed.

To provide my friends with this interesting information, here is Ms. Lau’s overall forecast for the Year of the Monkey plus her predictions for how individuals will fare this year, given the animal that represents their birth year. (To determine what animal you are, see my table of animals for birth dates.)

Year of Monkey

The Year of the Monkey 
February 8, 2016 – January 27, 2017

Everything will be workable this year. At least the agile Monkey will not give up before trying every angle. There will be success even in impossible ventures, there will be inventions and improvisations galore. Politics, diplomacy, high finance and business will be engaged in one big poker game with everyone trying to outbluff each other. A rather amusing and exciting time in which everyone will be given the opportunity to try his hand at the game. No direct confrontation here, as the Monkey is one who can laugh off his mistakes and improve his bargaining prowess in the next round.

This is a year that will find us all trying to get a better deal by outsmarting the other man. It is hard to keep track of who is winning, as the right hand has no idea of what the left hand is up to. One thing is for sure, this will be an extremely progressive time. We will all steam ahead, and even if we do not apply ourselves to the utmost, we will be carried forward by the surging tide of the Monkey’s natural talent for learning and advancement.

The lucky imp of a Monkey who rules this year will urge us to gamble, speculate and exploit risky but ingenious options. If you are quick on the draw, this year will yield huge dividends. It is definitely not a year for the faint-hearted or slow-witted. The Monkey gives no concessions and asks none in return. If there is a recession, the year of the Monkey will quickly put an end to it. Business will skyrocket under his optimistic and shrewd influence. The Monkey’s resourcefulness will amaze and confound everyone.

It is very interesting to note that America was born in the year of the Fire Monkey, 1776. Perhaps this explains her phenomenal growth and fantastic achievements within such a short span of time.

It is said that the Monkey’s year will bring many new and unconventional ways of doing things. The motto of this year should be: “Don’t take No for an answer!”

How you will fare in the Year of the Monkey

Rat     The Rat will enjoy a fruitful year as no serious troubles are predicted on the home or business front. He will receive more good news than bad. However, he should avoid breaking friendships or partnerships at this time to avoid future repercussions.

Ox     A lucky and prosperous year for the Ox. He will be feted or sought after by important people. Good tidings in his family or a new job or promotion could await him. New ventures or partnerships can be foreseen.

Tiger     A trying year for the Tiger. Irritations and setbacks test his patience and powers of endurance. He should not voice his objections too loudly and avoid confrontations which could lead to lawsuits. He will entertain or travel more than usual and be forced to compromise.

Rabbit     A fair year for the Rabbit provided he is not too optimistic. Financial deals or contracts may meet with unexpected snags or fail to materialize due to the betrayal of a trusted ally. His family life remains calm but he could experience several minor illnesses that impede his progress.

Dragon     A mixed year for the Dragon. Progress can be foreseen in his career and financial undertakings but he must not be deceived by favorable preliminary results or else he could get caught in legal tangles. Broken friendships or romantic quarrels can result if he, is too determined to have everything done his way. A time for compromises and heeding the advice of others.

Snake     A good year as the Snake will find help when he needs it most. He may still be involuntarily drawn into disputes but things will burn themselves out if he does not add fuel to the fire. Still, these adverse conditions may cause undue anxiety. A year to remain conservative or neutral.

Horse     A lucky year for the Horse, as sudden gains or unlikely benefits are foreseen. He will be able to find whatever he is searching for, but he must also be careful about freak accidents that are likely to occur. There may be sad news in the family, but the troubles of others will not affect him personally.

Sheep     A good year for the Sheep. Recognition or promotion at work gives him a sense of fulfillment and he will enjoy a busy but rewarding year. Opposition is negligible and health problems minor.

Monkey     An excellent time for the Monkey native. He can start his own business as achievements, happiness and recognition are indicated. He will make fantastic progress. Headaches will come mainly from subordinates, debtors or people who finance his bold undertakings. Health problems stem from overexertion.

Rooster     A mixed year. The Rooster is faced with financial problems, failure in business or career, or personal suffering at home. He is prone to make errors in judgment, so he must not rely on outside information but investigate everything thoroughly on his own. Things may look better than they actually are.

Dog     A fair year. It will be hectic and not as fruitful as the Dog expects, but there will be good news or celebrations at home. Extra expenses, more traveling than usual or a change in residence are also foreseen. New friends and important people will fete him.

Boar     A moderately satisfying time for the Boar. He will suffer from a lack of money or support and various domestic and personal problems will occupy his mind. Results are not entirely favorable but he will be able to borrow money or join forces with other people and solve his difficulties.

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I found a website that offers a summary of “YOUR FORTUNE IN FIRE MONKEY YEAR”. Check out how you’ll fare in this prediction compared to Ms. Lau’s. http://susanlevitt.com/astrology/monkey-year-2016/