Mail merge labels in OpenOffice

Christmas card time again and my usual annual reminder of how tricky this seems to be.

1. There are different ways of creating a data source for OoWriter:
From Egroupware you can use a CSV export of a particular category search. Best to turn this into a MS xls first. Important that you choose ‘semi-colon’ as delimiter type, NOT comma (commas are used within the fields in egw), when opening up the csv and saving as your xls (strngely couldn’t get Base to work with an Oo spreasheet?). In ubuntu it seems tricky to simply to register the xls as a data source using the wizard, but using the spreadsheet as the data for an Oo Base db. still registers it as a viewable datasource in Writer when hitting F4
Egw can also be hooked into as a data source live. to do that…
Everything needed in here: /home/markp/printjobs/Label Runs/christmas The xls feeds the odb, odb is the registered datasource for Oo, the odt template is setup for the 8x3s.

3. to insert such a data source into a sheet full of labels: chose file:new: labels

4. insert the fields when the data source has been selected. Don’t be tempted to drag and drop the fields using the F4 view once the thing is opened! (screws the db somehow and field mismatch)

5. To suppress blank fields (per line), view printing characters and change the carriage returns at end of lines for P (paragraphs). Then, with the cursor at the end of the relevant line: (insert:fields:other:functions:hidden paragraph in the condition field the field is referred to, including it’s path, a ! means ‘NOT’. eg ![addresses1.Sheet1.City (Private)]

5b. To suppress spaces (eg when no < title > field) follow instructions here

6. To see the finished result got to print (huh?) and to create the output as a file choose such. This allows you to save, but not edit that doc. Don’t choose ‘update all links’ that simply inserts that contents of the first (master) label to all the others.

7. To over come the problem of the salutation on the address label being correct for (eg) a family. whilst using an address record that belongs to s ingle person (eg a Church member), I have used the following fields which cover all situations: on first line of address only use prefix, middlename, surname and suffix fields, not firstname, this allows a name to be created thus: prefix MR middlename G & MRS C surname CARRINGTON suffix & FAMILY. conditional text entries required for prefix, middlename fields in case they are blank (suppreses unnecesary spaces). I have also decided to apply a country to all addresses, use conditional text so that only overseas COUNTRIES print, as here. Only use personal (home) addresses, if business address is the only one, copy it to the personal as well.

8. If you need to adjust the layout slightly when you’ve finished with your sheet here