Send individualised letters with Pages mailmerge


Send individualised letters with Pages mailmerge
Mac Tip #547, 01 August 2012

You may want to send the same letter to a group of people, but include each recipient’s own name and address, rather than just a generic Hi everyone. You don’t need to do lots of copy and pasting to achieve this. Instead use the Merge function in Pages and pull the names and addresses from a Numbers database. It’s actually very easy, as guest author Jenine Abarbanel explains.

See Use Numbers.app as an address database for information about how to set up a Numbers file ready for the merge. Also see Make a Flyer in Pages on the Mac if you need help with using templates in Pages.app.

Jenine Abarbanel. Jenine Abarbanel is co-organiser for Kiwi Foo Camp, and a part time Mac technician at Mahurangi College in Warkworth. When she isn’t being a geek she’s raising two kids or playing double bass and singing in a bluegrass band.

Quick Start

  1. Set up a Numbers database with names and addresses.
  2. Write a letter based on a Pages template.
  3. Select Merge fields in the Pages document and match them to columns in the spreadsheet.
  4. Merge.

If this Tip was useful, please leave a comment letting us know. Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Address Book or Numbers database?

There are two ways to conduct a Mail Merge in Pages. You can use Address Book as your source for names and addresses or a Numbers spreadsheet.

Miraz notes: Address Book changed its name to Contacts in Mountain Lion.

I’ve chosen to use a Numbers spreadsheet, because I’m over the phase where I enter everyone I meet into Address Book. Address Book has so much potential, but let’s face it, it’s an orphan app. It hasn’t received any meaningful updates in forever. When that changes, I may start using it more again.

Set up the Numbers database.

Set up the Numbers database.

Write your letter in Pages

First, set up the Numbers database, then write your letter in Pages. I’ve used the personal photo letter template.

The templates come with preset Merge Fields which can be modified and linked to a Numbers file, making life very easy.

Match the fields to merge.

Match the fields to merge.

Match the fields to merge

In the Inspector in Pages choose the Link tab, and then the Merge tab within that…

Clicking on the Choose button brings up a dialog box that allows you to select the Numbers file to be the source of the names and addresses.

Clicking on the Choose button brings up a dialog box that allows you to select the Numbers file to be the source of the names and addresses.

Clicking on the Choose button brings up a dialog box that allows you to select the Numbers file to be the source of the names and addresses.

Change the Target Name for the pre-existing Merge Fields to the name of the corresponding column in your Numbers file.

For example, in the Pages template the First Name placeholder is Trenz and the last name placeholder is Pruca. Match them with First Name and Last Name columns in your Numbers file, as the screenshot shows.

Merge copies of the letter to a single file

Next go to the Edit menu in Pages.app and select Mail Merge…

Merge, baby, Merge!

Voila, you’re given a single new document containing all the merged letters. Then you can go ahead and print them when you’re ready.

Variations: Merging from Address Book. Creating and inserting your own merge fields. Pretty straightforward, do a little bit of poking and you’ll get it!

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One Comment;

  1. Graham McKay said:

    Nice tip.

    You don’t mention the options in the “merge to” dropdown (and I don’t have Pages) so can you advise if the Mail Merge functionality also allows you to send the output as individual emails to the Mail application. And getting deeper into that option – does it allow you to select which Mail account you are sending from?

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