MacMost Now 730: Custom Merge Fields In Pages

You can use mail merges for more than just letters and envelopes. You can create your own custom spreadsheets of data in Numbers, and then merge that with a custom Pages document for interesting results. In this example, a small list of school test results is printed on individual pages.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 730: Custom Merge Fields In Pages.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at how to use merge fields in Pages to create custom output.

So you may be familiar with merging in Pages in terms of taking addresses from your Address Book and creating envelopes or letters. Or even doing the same thing from a spreadsheet. But you can also create your own documents that aren't letters or envelopes. In this example I am going to show you if a teacher had a set of test results and wanted to print out the scores on different sets of papers to hand them out to the students.

Let's start off by looking at my Numbers spreadsheets. This is in Numbers here. I have created a simple spreadsheet with columns; Name, TestScore and Notes. Here I've got each person's name and their test score here in the second column and I also noted Notes here. Two of the students got notes based on their scores. The idea is that I want this information each to be on thirteen different individual sheets of paper so I can hand out the test results or perhaps send them home to parents.

Now here is a document I have created in Pages. There is nothing special about it now. Just a normal processing document. I have put the title at the top and I've put three lines here and I've just put place holder text where name, score and notes should go. Nothing special about it. When I print it, it will look exactly like this.

But now I am going to open up the Inspector. I'm going to go in the Inspector to the link tab here. There is Hyperlink, Bookmark and Merge. I'm going to select Merge. Then I am going to go to one of the three areas that I want to replace by my data. I am going to select Name and with merge here I am going to first choose the Numbers document that I am going to use. I've got that on my desktop here. Once I do that I am going to hit okay and I'm going to see these column titles appear when I go to Add a Merge field.

So I'm going to select Name like I have, hit Plus, and Add Merge field and it will insert Name and target it with the first target column there Name. I can select any of the three columns. You can see it picked up those names there. I'm going to go to Score and I'm going to add that as a merge field. I'm going to change that to Test Score. And then Notes add that as a merge field as well and set that to the Notes column.

So now I have three columns and three merge fields here in the document. So it is all ready to go.

Now you can see I've made the text much larger. It just makes it for us in the tutorial to see the results in the Preview Window. Normally you would just leave it the normal size.

To actually do the merge you have to go to Edit, Mail Merge and the top part has already been set up. You can see the stuff that I've done there so we don't have to touch that. We just have to worry about Merge to. You can Send to Printer or to New Document. If you send it to the printer we get the print dialogue here which shows us a preview of all twelve pages, you can see there is twelve pages, and we can flip through them and see exactly what is going to be printed. You can see the Notes field here on the bottom of that one and we will see that again on one other. We can see everything is customized.

Now we could go to Print, Send to the Printer, or we can use one of these PDF options perhaps to save the entire thing as a PDF and print it out somewhere else.

Of course, you may want to make this more complex. For instance, you may want to have the full address or the parent's name on the sheet. If this is something for business you may want to have the office number or something like that for a corporate memo system. You can also do envelopes too as well if you wanted to seal these in envelopes you can do one mail merge for the interior document and then one for the envelope itself using things from the same spreadsheet. So you can make the spreadsheet more complex than this. This is just a simple example.

You can expand this for any kind of data that you need to print each row or a spreadsheet onto a different sheet of paper in some other format. You can include all sorts of data on here so depending on what you do for a living and what you use your Mac for you might find this useful.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 730: Custom Merge Fields In Pages”

    7 years ago

    Neat. Is there anyway to add text conditionally? Let’s say you wanted to add a headline “Notes:” if there was a note in the row for a student, but not otherwise.

      7 years ago

      You could just include the text “Notes: ” in the cell in the spreadsheet. Then without it the field would be completely blank.

    7 years ago

    I have followed your instruction and am receiving this error:

    Please select a Numbers document that has one or more named header columns and one or more rows of data.
    an you help?
    Thank you so much!

      7 years ago

      The error message says it all. Does your Numbers document have those?

        Diane Fray
        6 years ago

        I received the same error message today and my Numbers document has both header columns and rows of data – how do I proceed?

          6 years ago

          You need a header row on top of each column. Look carefully, check and recheck, experiment and try things. You’ll get it.

    7 years ago

    Awesome! Thank you very much, Gary! I really love your handcrafted episodes, highlighting the lesser-known but nonetheless immensely useful features of just about anything on the Mac. Keep up the good work!:)

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