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Basic Data Source Troubleshooting
12-30-2010, 06:02 PM (This post was last modified: 12-30-2010 06:12 PM by mlandis.)
Post: #1
Basic Data Source Troubleshooting
Regardless of your database, here are several general tips which can help you get Mailer working properly with your data.  Note: Datasource and Database are interchanged freely in this article.

Database Headers and Field names
Mach5 Mailer uses the first row of the database as headers to name each column. If you're using a text based database such as a comma separated or tab separated txt file, the first row should be something like:

email, name, phone, comment

If you are using a text based database and Mailer is only seeing the first value, you may have selected the wrong delimiter (the character that tells Mailer when a entry ends). The above example is using commas. You can easily change the delimiter. Open Mailer, open your Mailing, and click 'Data Source'->'Change'. Select text database, click next, and then change the delimiter on the next page to the correct value.

If you are using a different database, the rule about the first row defining the field name still applies.

Checking Fields
When you insert a field into your mailing, it should have the name of the column header, (ex. email) and look like this

<?mailer.write mailer.fields("email")?>

If you are seeing an actual email address here such as

<?mailer.write mailer.fields("")?>

Mailer is not correctly reading your database. You can review which Fields Mach5 Mailer sees from the 'DataSource'->'Field Types' menu. You should see each column header of your database represented. If you don't please use the above troubleshooting steps to have Mailer access your database properly.

Previewing your Emails
Once you have Fields working correctly and inserted into your email, you can test them by clicking the 'Preview' tab at the bottom of the email window. Select either the 'Plain' or 'HTML' tab to view the corresponding email type, and click the arrow keys to check each email's content as Mailer steps through your database. You should see each inserted field from your edited email showing as its corresponding value from your database.
If you are having difficulty establishing a connection to your database here are a few basic troubleshooting steps that will solve most common problems. Please check Mailer for correct functioning after each step. If you update any software on your machine in the troubleshooting process, please reboot before testing Mach5 Mailer.

1. Ensure that you don't have the Datasource file open in another application when Mailer is accessing it. This should not be an issue for Microsoft Access and other full implementations of databases, but it certainly IS a problem with .txt, .cvs, .tab and other text based Datasources, as well as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

2. Verify that Mach5 Mailer is accessing the correct file. Open your mailing and select 'Datasource'->'Change' from the top menu. Mailer will ask if 'you are sure you want to change the datasource for the current merge'. Click 'Yes'. Select the Datasource Type you are using and click 'Next'. Browse to the file and select it. Click 'Open'. If you are using an Access or Excel file, select the appropriate table or range of cells, and click 'Finish'. If you are using a text based Datasource make sure the 'Use first row as header' is checked and the 'Delimiter' is set correctly. Click 'Next'. If the 'Delimiter' was correct, Mailer will display your Field Names according to the first row of your text Datasource, if they aren't listed correctly, click 'Back' and change the delimiter to the correct value. Once your fields are displaying correctly, click 'Finish'.

3. Make sure your Database program is fully patched and up to date. Microsoft Excel and Access can be patched automatically by visiting the Microsoft Update site. If you're not running the latest security patches on your OS, please update these as well. You need them.

4. Download and install MDAC 2.8 and Microsoft JET 4.0 SP8 from Microsoft's website. These are the most recent versions of two underlying technologies used natively within Windows 2000 and Windows XP for database connections. Download MDAC 2.8. Download Microsoft Jet 4.0 SP8.

5. Excel will sometimes save strange macro's and other odd information within an Excel spreadsheet which can interfere with Mailer. You can easily 'refresh' your Excel spreadsheet Datasource. Start with making a backup copy of your Datasource. (a 'right-click+drag' will allow you to copy the file anywhere you like.) Open your Excel spreadsheet. Highlight all of your data and press 'Ctrl+C' to copy the data. Create a new blank Workbook and paste the copied data into it by pressing 'Ctrl+V'. Save the workbook with a descriptive name such as 'DatasourceCleanupforMailer' and close Microsoft Excel. Follow step 2. above and point Mailer at the newly created Datasource file.
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