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I am trying to find out the practicalities of doing a mail merge when each “record” to be merged on includes some images.

I need to:

  • print letters
  • And envelopes

Both the letters and the envelopes have:

  • Fixed text
  • Fixed images
  • Text that come from the mail merge record
  • Images that come from the mail merge record
  • I don’t know if all images will be the same size for every record, so a bit of simple “on the fly” automatic formatting may be needed .

I need to be able to repeat a single item if I get a problem (e.g when folding the letter).

What problems am I likely to have?

Is Word 2007 up to this sort of mail merging, or should I be looking at a report writing tool?

How do I restart a print run after a printer jam etc?

What format should I store the “records” and there images in?
E.g Can standard software cope with images that are stored in separate files named after the “CustomerId” that is in the “record”

(I can write custom software if needed, but would rather use standard “of-the-shelf” software for the printing, I am planning on custom software for the data creation, so can output in whatever format is needed)

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2 Answers 2

Word 2007 can manage everything except for on-the-fly merged image formatting. They would need to be the right size beforehand, as far as I know (unless you buy a utility).

  • Fixed text and images are fine (obviously enough - that's just a document).
  • Text from the mail-merge is dealt with natively by word mail-merge.
  • If by 'Images that come from the mail merge record' you mean paths stored in the mail-merge, that can be done (see here for step-by-step and a utility as well).
  • Word can deal with single items in a larger merge, and the data being merged can be selectively enabled/disabled on a record-by-record basis to pick up where you left off.
  • Records can be stored in any sort of table (csv, ttx, xls, etc.) with the images stored in a folder somewhere accessible (mapped drive or UNC I think?) and unique paths to each in the aforementioned table.

Hope that helps!

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If I were to solve this, I will definitely consider Perl + LaTeX! You can use Perl to automate fetching e-mails and storing image. There are already email modules that helps you to do something similar. LaTeX will do the typesetting and formatting for you. You will not need to worry about images size/placement or doing stuff like this. It should be all automated.

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