Email substitution tags

Learn how to use substitution tags to personalize your emails in Full Fabric

ClΓ‘udia Duarte avatar
Written by ClΓ‘udia Duarte
Updated over a week ago

Mass communications shouldn't look like mass communications. Your recipients are real people with real personalities, so when it comes to sending emails in bulk, it behooves you to add a human touch to them – at the very least, to address people by name. πŸ’— Moreover, you'll inevitably bump into other situations when you'll have to insert data that's different for everyone, such as an application URL, a passport number, or something else.

Enter substitution tags, the answer to reaching a large audience without compromising personalization! 😎

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What's an email substitution tag and where can I add them?

A substitution tag is essentially a code that stands for a specific but variable piece of information, such as a surname, the name of a programme or a phone number, just to mention a few examples. It's meant to be replaced with the individual data of every recipient, like so:

The way substitution tags work is that, whenever you wish to send a personalized mass e-mail, the codes must be added to where in the text you want the corresponding data to go; then, upon dispatch, the tags are automatically replaced with the personal details of each person within the audience segment. Accordingly, the resulting emails look like they were specially written for each particular addressee, despite having been blasted to potentially hundreds of people. πŸ’— Here's an example:

It's possible to use substitution tags in any email – more concretely, one-to-one emails, campaigns, or automation-related email templates (like the event registration confirmation email, for instance).

Email substitution tags should not be confused with letter substitution tags. The latter were conceived to work with Microsoft Word's Merge Field feature, therefore the codes are mutually incompatible. 🚫

How do I add a substitution tag to an email message?

Adding a substitution tag to an email message is as easy as can be:

1) Create a new email or access a draft in progress

2) Click Edit to open the editor

3) Begin to compose the message and, every time you need to add a substitution tag to it, place the text cursor where you want to insert the tag, refer to the toolbar and press the last button from the right (the one that looks like a price tag) to open the list of available substitution tags

4) Finally, click on the required substitution tag to add it

There you go! 😁

For more information on how to create an email message in Full Fabric, please read this other Help Center article: How to design a unique email message from scratch.

What data can be retrieved through an email substitution tag?

As demonstrated below, the information obtained through substitution tags can be split into three categories: details from the profile Info tab (highlighted in orange), application data (highlighted in blue), and event data (highlighted in purple).

Profile data is always retrievable, regardless of where in Full Fabric you build an email message. But please note that it pulls data from the recipient's profile. If the recipient is an applicant, it'll be data from their profile – but, by the same token, if the recipient happens to be a staff user (such as to send an application submission notification), then it'll be their data. Hence the existence of the second and third categories.

Substitution tags related to applications only work if they're affiliated with a candidate, meaning that they need to be linked to an applicant profile and to an actual application in order to have information to pull. Consequently:

  • If you're building a shared email template, you'll have to associate the template with an application template, which in turn must be associated with a class. The same applies to test emails: instead of using the Send me a test email feature, follow the aforementioned steps and then submit an application using a test profile that's been added to the relevant class.

  • Alternatively, if you're building an applicant notification template, you may build it directly from scratch in the respective application template by navigating to Automation and then Applicant notification template, and selecting Build a new email template.

If you fail to meet the above criteria, the substitution tags will simply produce blank spaces:

Finally, we reach event substitution tags. By now, it may come as no surprise to you that they also need to be linked to a specific event. In other words:

  • If you're building a shared email template, you'll have to associate it with a specific event.

  • If you're building a registration confirmation email, you can build it directly from scratch in the Message tab of an event.

  • If you're building a reminder email, you can build it directly from scratch in the Reminders tab of an event.

Otherwise, as with application substitution tags, the event substitution tags will be merely replaced with blank spaces.

The purpose of each email substitution tag is rather straightforward and plainly stated in its name, with perhaps the exception of the tag QR Code, which generates a unique QR code for every event registration confirmation email and complementary event reminders in order to automatically mark event attendance. To learn more about this topic, we recommend the following article: Use QR codes to automatically mark event attendance.


You have reached the end of this article. Thanks for reading! πŸ€“ If you have any questions or comments on the topic at hand, or if you enjoy reads like this and have article requests, feel free to start a chat or email us at Also, please leave a rating below. Your feedback is highly appreciated! πŸ’–

PUBLISHED: January 3, 2022
​LAST UPDATED: January 20, 2022 at 2:31 p.m.

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