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Why is Mail Merge so difficult: Auto inserted blank pages

 
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DMahalko
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:32 pm    Post subject: Why is Mail Merge so difficult: Auto inserted blank pages Reply with quote

The mail merge system in Open Office 3.3 seems to be poorly implemented with weird gotchas lurking all over the place. I am going to split this discussion into chunks.

1. WHY THE EXTRA BLANK PAGES? WHY TWICE AS MUCH PAPER?

We wasted lots of time feeding twice as much paper through the printer as needed because OO inserts blank pages between each label page. Why does it do that?



The general explanation is, well, if you were printing a book, you want the first page of every new chapter to fall on the right side of the page. And every mail merge page is basically the first page of a book, so we need a blank page to have the book layout flow properly.

This can be turned off via a menu option to not print automatically inserted pages.

Okay, yes I did that. Except for one small detail I would like to point out:

I AM NOT PRINTING BOOK CHAPTERS. OO SHOULD KNOW THAT SINCE I AM CLICKING MERGE RECORDS FROM DATABASE.



The book formatting is annoying in other ways. Lets say you merge labels to a new document as a way of checking to make sure the labels will come out properly. The document is weird because every label page is "page 1", again due to OO treating each label as the first page of a new book chapter.

So if you want to print a range of those generated labels, how to know which page is actually page 9 and page 23?

I have not been able to figure out how to get rid of this weird page formatting.

I should be able to select the entire document, do some sort of formatting change, and all the needless book chapters should disappear and it becomes a normal document.



The solution here is simple, though apparently only a programmer can fix it:

Mail merges should not be treated books and chapters. Don't format the output that way.
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