Creating Mail Merge Letters and Faxes With Data Sources Using AutoPilots

Creating Mail Merge Letters and Faxes With Data Sources Using AutoPilots

Use these procedures to create and print any letter, fax, agenda, or memo with different data in every copy. Examples include personally addressed letters to everyone on your customer list and envelopes to match; labels for everyone on your holiday gift list.

Choose File > AutoPilot; you'll see that you can make a letter, fax, agenda, or memo.

Use AutoPilots for just formatting

The AutoPilots let you specify a lot about a documentformatting, what elements to put in, and what data source to use, if any. You can click Create in any window; you don't have to stay on for the whole ride if all you want is the basic document for an Elegant Fax, for instance.

Use AutoPilots as an easy way to hook up to a data source

While hooking up to a data source is pretty easy in general, it's definitely simple in the AutoPilots. It's a great way to create a letter individually addressed to each recipient.

Creating a Letter Using the Letter AutoPilot

  1. Choose File > AutoPilot > Letter. The window in Figure 10-7 will appear.

    Figure 10-7. Selecting a letter type and layout

    graphics/10fig07.jpg

  2. Click next ; the window in Figure 10-8 will appear. Select a logo if any, specify whether it's text or graphics, and set the location and size.

    Figure 10-8. Specifying information about your logo

    graphics/10fig08.jpg

  3. Click next; the window in Figure 10-9 will appear. Enter the sender address if it isn't displayed automatically from data by choosing Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > User Data.

    Figure 10-9. Entering your address and positioning it

    graphics/10fig09.jpg

  4. Click next; the window in Figure 10-10 will appear. If you want to create a mail merge with a different letter addressed to each person in a list, select the data source, table, and fields.

    Figure 10-10. Specifying the data source and table containing information about the people you're sending the letter to

    graphics/10fig10.jpg

  5. Click Next; the window in Figure 10-11 will appear. Enter the dates, page numbers , subjects, etc. that you want included. You can delete some or all of them later if necessary.

    Figure 10-11. Setting up page numbering, subject lines and dates, and references

    graphics/10fig11.jpg

  6. Click Next; the window in Figure 10-12 will appear. Specify position and content for the footer, if any.

    Figure 10-12. Setting up the footer

    graphics/10fig12.jpg

  7. Click Next; the window in Figure 10-13 will appear. Specify how the second and subsequent pages should be laid out.

    Figure 10-13. Setting up the header

    graphics/10fig13.jpg

  8. Click Next; the window in Figure 10-14 will appear. Enter information about how the template you're creating will be named and saved, and how documents generated from it will be named and saved. The template is the document generated by the AutoPilot; the document is a saved instance of the template, or a file generated by the File > Form Letter printing process.

    Figure 10-14. Specifying save options

    graphics/10fig14.jpg

  9. Click Next; the window in Figure 10-15 will appear. Specify the miscellaneous details it asks for, then click Create.

    Figure 10-15. Specifying finishing details

    graphics/10fig15.jpg

  10. The template will be created and opened; an example is shown in Figure 10-16.

    Figure 10-16. The first window of the Agenda AutoPilot

    graphics/10fig16.jpg

To print what you've created, if you used data source fields, see Printing on page 399.

Creating a Fax Using the Fax AutoPilot

Note

To set up faxing, see Creating UNIX Printers and Faxes on page 54.


Choose File > AutoPilot > Fax. Enter the appropriate options; use Figure 10-17 through Figure 10-24 for guidance.

Figure 10-17. Selecting a letter type and layout

graphics/10fig17.jpg

Figure 10-24. The process is done; click Create.

graphics/10fig24.jpg

Figure 10-18. Selecting a logo and logo location

graphics/10fig18.jpg

Figure 10-19. Specifying your contact information

graphics/10fig19.jpg

Figure 10-20. Specifying who to fax to

graphics/10fig20.jpg

Figure 10-21. Adding other elements

graphics/10fig21.jpg

Figure 10-22. Setting up a footer

graphics/10fig22.jpg

Figure 10-23. Specifying save options

graphics/10fig23.jpg

To fax what you've created, if you used data source fields, see Printing on page 399.

Switching to a Different Data Source for a Mail Merge Document

Imagine you've created the world's greatest holiday newsletter, and you've set it up as a mail merge to print a copy for everyone on your usual list. But you've just met a bunch of great people through your winter Ultimate Frisbee hot tub league and now you want to send the newsletter to everyone in the Ultimate online registration dBase database, too.

What do you do? Just use the same newsletter document, but switch data sources.

Using the Exchange Database Window

Both databases must show matching field names and field types, so that after the exchange, the fields for inserting field names still display meaningful results.

  1. Open the document.

  2. Choose Edit > Exchange Database.

  3. Select the new data source and table in Figure 10-25 and click OK. Be sure to also select the new database and table also in the Form Letter window when you print the document.

    Figure 10-25. Exchanging databases

    graphics/10fig25.jpg

Selecting a Different Data Source in the Form Letter Window

You can easily switch from one data source to another just by selecting a different data source and table when you're in the Form Letter window, ready to print. (Choose File > Form Letter; see Printing on page 399.) However, the field names must be exactly the same or a lot of data won't get printed.

Manually Switching Data Source or Fields

You can switch from one table to another easily as long as it has exactly the same field names. See Printing on page 399. If not, use this procedure.

  1. Open a template.

  2. Double-click the field you want to change. The Edit Fields: Database window will appear, displaying the data source and field you double-clicked. This is shown in Figure 10-26.

    Figure 10-26. Changing to a different data source, table, and field

    graphics/10fig26.jpg

  3. In the Database Selection list, scroll to the data source, table, and field that you want to use instead, and double-click it.

  4. Repeat until you've changed all the fields. (You can click the right- facing arrow to go to the next field in the document.) All fields must be in the same table.