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.
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