Mail Merges via the Ghost Database


The underlying Capable 21C database is a Microsoft Access database, and as such is highly accessible for Mail Merges. Custom mail merges can be generated by creating custom queries that select subsets of the entire patient/client database, however, Capable Software does not recommend the creation of custom queries in the Capable database file. It is possible to create custom queries in a Ghost database (available from Capable Software for free), and then link mail merges to that Ghost database. This article explains how to do this.

Underlying challenge

A Ghost Database is a Microsoft Access database that links to the master Capable 21C database, but does not contain any data within it. Each table of information in the Capable 21C database is linked in the Ghost database, and is available for queries. Custom queries can be developed in a Ghost database without placing the real database at any risk. A sample Ghost database is available from the Capable Software website by clicking this link:

The file should be saved to the C:\Capable folder on the main PC in the office.

A knowledgebase article exists on Mail Merges, and it explains how to perform mail merges against the master Capable 21C database. That knowledgebase article does not explain how to link mail merges to a Ghost database.


To perform this resolution, please read the knowledgebase article on Mail Merges first. To link the mail merge to the Ghost database instead of the Capable database:

In the instructions that explain how to link to the database, substitute the Ghost.MDB for the Capable.MDB in step 4. Follow all other instructions as written in the Mail Merge knowledgebase article.

Detailed Information

Experienced users of Microsoft Access may develop their own queries in a Ghost database. The generic queries that are provided in the Ghost database are intended as examples of how this can be done.

The following queries are available in the Ghost database:

Query name Purpose
This query shows takings by practitioner by month This query will extract all takings (eg payments) and group them by practitioner and by month in the current financial year (eg all dates after 1st July in the current year). This kind of query is ideal for generating graphs.
Use this query for Active Families This query will extract all active patients and group them together as families. If there is only one family member, the FamilyName will be returned as Mr John Smith. If there are two, it will return Mr & Mrs Smith. If there are three or more, it will return The Smith Family.
Use this query for all patients with a particular practitioner This query will extract all patients whose preferred practitioner is entered when the query is opened. Note that this query uses a wildcard match, which means that only a fragment of the practitioner’s name needs to be entered (eg John instead of Dr John Cappola)
Use this query for all people on file This query will return names and addresses of all patients on file.
Use this query for families for practitioner and in recently This query combines the limitation to a single practitioner with the query that provides a family name. It also includes a feature to restrict the list to patients that have been in recently (eg in the last 6 months). The query will prompt for the number of months.
Use this query for people not in for 2 years This query will extract names and addresses for all patients who have not been in for 2 years.
Use this query to extract e-mail addresses This query extracts all e-mail addresses on file. This is handy for sending mass e-mails, or to import patient details into Microsoft Outlook.

This knowledge resource is designed for use on a Windows (tm) XP system operating at a screen resolution of 1024x768 or better. Windows Media Player must be installed for this training resource to operate correctly.

Copyright 2008 Capable Software Pty Ltd

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