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Tutorial: OpenOffice.Org Mail Merge


Mail merge is a software function describing the production of multiple documents from a single template form and a structured data source. This helps to create personalized letters and pre-addressed envelopes or mailing labels for mass mailings from a word processing document which contains fixed text, which will be the same in each output document, and variables, which act as placeholders that are replaced by text from the data source. The data source is typically a spreadsheet or a database which has a field or column matching each variable in the template. When the mail merge is run, the word processing system creates an output document for each row in the database, using the fixed text exactly as it appears in the template, but substituting the data variables in the template with the values from the matching columns.

This technique of merging data to create mailshots gave rise to the term mail merge. OpenOffice.Org has a in built software mail merge feature.

If you haven't tried OpenOffice.org's mail merge feature because you find it confusing or difficult to use, you are in luck. Mail Merges in OpenOffice.org and StarOffice provides a detailed description of the mail merge feature from start to finish. Among other things, it shows how you can use the mail merge to create letters, labels, and envelopes.

=> You can download this excellent PDF ebook for your persusal or read the article online - Mail Merge in Openoffice.org: Everything You Need to Know

This sucks, Open office 2.3 spreadsheet cannot open or import text files that are larger than 65,536 rows. Basically, I need 100k rows. However, it is possible to recompile OO to extend rows limitation. From the OO wiki hack page:

Well, it depends on what your goal is. For personal use you may set MAXROWCOUNT_DEFINE in sc/inc/address.hxx to a different value, multiple of 128, and recompile the application respectively the libsc680*.so and shove it under your existing installation. However, doing so implies that you don't save to any binary file format like Excel or whatsoever, otherwise you risk loss of data. You'll also encounter drawing layer misfits in higher row numbers, may experience performance problems, and there may be other quirks lurking. Note that it generally works for data and formulas, but otherwise is completely untested.

For the number of columns the same applies to the MAXCOLCOUNT_DEFINE in sc/inc/address.hxx, just that the value must be a multiple of 16 instead.

My text file is truncated at 65,536 and I was dumped with the following error message:
Text files that are larger than 65,536 rows cannot be imported

I'm going to recompile my OO. Another good option is using MySQL. However, I'm not in mood to write a php / python scripts to just create graphs and other stuff.