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I have a email template with {!Contact.FirstName} merge field in it, this email template is used in an email alert used in a work flow rule that gets triggered when lead is created through web to lead functionality, surprisingly the contact name gets populated in email alert when the lead is created. How is this possible? am i missing something?

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    i'll be gobsmacked -- I just reproduced this myself, web-to-lead is not required, simply creating a new lead from UI will do it. The email alert/template using {!Lead.firstname} and {!Contact.firstname} will display the same values; equally true for xxx.lastName – cropredy Sep 4 '14 at 23:31
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OK, here is the answer - it is in the SFDC Help doc here: https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=merge_fields_email_templates.htm&language=en_US

Templates with contact merge fields can be used to generate email documents for leads. Likewise, you can use lead templates to generate contact emails and documents.

I suspect the reason for this is to aid admins so they can reuse common templates for communication to both leads and the converted-from-lead Contact.

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