How to print envelopes & mail merge

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How to print envelopes & mail merge

Postby johncraw » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:45 pm

Every year we create Christmas cards. We use the same size card, and we place a picture on the envelope. In previous years, we have used Word for this. I want to start using Writer.
So with that background these are my trials.
I used Envelope from the Insert menu. I created the envelope got the data source, put the picture on the envelope, and looked at the results. Worked great! Except, blank address lines were displayed.
So I thought to myself Self! why not use mail merge. This allows you to surpress blank lines in addresses. So I set up the document as an envelope. got the data source (a little frustrating there). Added the picture, and looked at the results. Worked great! Except the picture did not print.

So I have two methods that do almost what I want. I could pre-print the picture and then print the addresses, but that seems like more work than it should be.

I also read a description in the forum on how to surpress blank lines. However some of the responses seemed to indicate that it didn't always work. So am I doing something wrong, or do I just pick the best option and go with it.

I also have a problem editing a data source. Using Writer 2.3 I can create the data source (as .csv), add the values. I can also edit the source. However no changes are saved (either new or changed)

I also tried a later version of Writer (not sure which level) and I can create a data source, but cannot edit it. Any suggestions.
Thanks in advance
John Crawford

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Re: envelopes/mail merge

Postby TheGurkha » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:58 pm

Much easier to create your data source in Calc, and either save as .csv from there or just save it as a spreadsheet (which is the easiest option, IMHO).

Here's a long page of all kinds of useful stuff to do with labels: Labels Tutorials, which also discusses mail merge, and is a really good resource.
This is also useful: FSM Mail merge Tutorial

Pages 15 - 17 of Chapter 11 of the Writer guide describe how to suppress blank lines: OOo 3 User Guides.

You have to abandon thinking in a 'Word' way completely, because mail merge is so different in OOo. But once I got used to it I found it far more flexible and powerful.
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Re: How to print envelopes & mail merge

Postby johncraw » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:59 am

Thank you.
Yes I realized after the problems that I had with the data source that Base would be easier to use to create the data. However you must register the data. Mail merge seems to do this automatically. The reason I asked was whether I was doing something wrong.
I looked at the references that you mentioned. The process for removing blank lines in envelopes is an option. However Mail merge can do this without having to edit the information.
I do not see anything that talks about adding graphics to a form letter (in this case a form envelope). If I can do that then I do not have to worry about updating to surpress lines.
I teach the OOo programs to seniors. Many want to do the same thing I am doing. However the process may be too much for many of them. Many, not all, want simple processes. Creating data in Base. Registering the data. Creating the envelope. Manually editing the layout to surpress lines. This is not easy.
I don't see why I have to ignore the "Word" world. The mail merge process for envelopes is much the same. You define the document, add or create the data and print. Using Word made it easier for me to create the Writer process. Having used both, I see Word as being easier to do what I need to do. To be fair, this is the first instance that Word "seems" to be better than Writer.
John
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Re: How to print envelopes & mail merge

Postby TheGurkha » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:46 pm

johncraw wrote:Thank you.
Yes I realized after the problems that I had with the data source that Base would be easier to use to create the data. However you must register the data. Mail merge seems to do this automatically. The reason I asked was whether I was doing something wrong.


I was referring to using Calc, not Base. Either way you have to register the data source, but this is a moment's effort to do, and once it is done it is done.

johncraw wrote:I looked at the references that you mentioned. The process for removing blank lines in envelopes is an option. However Mail merge can do this without having to edit the information.


It's all mail merge - this is just a different way to do Mail Merge. Note that you don't edit the information, you set up a conditional test in one or more of the fields that you are merging into.

johncraw wrote:I do not see anything that talks about adding graphics to a form letter (in this case a form envelope). If I can do that then I do not have to worry about updating to surpress lines.
I teach the OOo programs to seniors. Many want to do the same thing I am doing. However the process may be too much for many of them. Many, not all, want simple processes. Creating data in Base. Registering the data. Creating the envelope. Manually editing the layout to surpress lines. This is not easy.


You can include graphics ina form letter, or a label etc, etc. Once you have the process worked out the light will come on and it'll all fall into place. All new processes can seem cumbersome at first. What i've seen with others is that the amount of flexibility within Ooo that can be overwhelming at first. Very often there are many ways to do the same thing.

johncraw wrote:I don't see why I have to ignore the "Word" world. The mail merge process for envelopes is much the same. You define the document, add or create the data and print. Using Word made it easier for me to create the Writer process. Having used both, I see Word as being easier to do what I need to do. To be fair, this is the first instance that Word "seems" to be better than Writer.
John


All I was trying to say was - for me at least - I had to completely blank my mind and start afresh, and approach it all without any preconceptions about hpow it would work. That old mindset was holding me back.
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Re: How to print envelopes & mail merge

Postby johncraw » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:45 pm

What I will have to do is figure out the easiest process that will work for the students. I will re-read your references and see if I can figure out how to get the graphic working. At least I can create the envelopes. The graphic in the form letter is the only issue.
Thanks again for your insight
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