Shine a spot­light on saga­cious so­lu­tions to your most mad­den­ing Mac mal­adies

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Sage ad­vice for the worst Mac mal­adies

Mail merge made easy

Q Can I do a mail merge us­ing Ap­ple’s Pages, or is there a bet­ter way? by Don Wil­son A You used to be able to mail merge to print from Pages, but in re­cent years this has be­come in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult and you prob­a­bly won’t get it to work now.

Ma­jor of­fice suites nor­mally still fea­ture mail merge to print. It has al­ways been an im­por­tant ben­e­fit of Mi­crosoft Of­fice, and Mi­crosoft has a se­ries of ex­cel­lent tu­to­ri­als at https://sup­port.of­­ti­cle/ Mail-merge-507b5468-f771-485d-9ef027857168a266, which shows this be­ing per­formed in Word 2013. The cur­rent Word ver­sion 15 for macOS can be used sim­i­larly. OpenOf­, which is free for macOS, sup­ports this, with a com­plete tu­to­rial at­fice_­mail_merge. That suite in­cludes a wiz­ard which steps you through the process, and pro­vides pre­views. Es­sen­tially, you store de­tails of the ad­dressees in a spread­sheet or data­base, us­ing stan­dard­ised field names. Those match marked up in­ser­tion points in your word pro­ces­sor doc­u­ment: for ex­am­ple, the field ‘ti­tle’ might be marked up as <ti­tle>. When you per­form the merge, copies of the doc­u­ment are gen­er­ated which sub­sti­tute per­son­alised in­for­ma­tion for the mark-up, in the re­quired num­ber of pages. Ad­dress la­bels should also be pro­duced ready for print­ing.

If you want to send merged email mes­sages rather than printed let­ters, two apps from the App Store which you should con­sider are Mail Merge and Se­ri­alMailer. There’s a demo ver­sion of Mail Merge avail­able from its sup­port site, while a Lite ver­sion of Se­ri­alMailer from the App Store should give you a good idea of how that works.

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