Issue 7066 - Mail Merge must be simplified
Summary: Mail Merge must be simplified
Alias: None
Product: Writer
Classification: Application
Component: ui (show other issues)
Version: OOo 1.0.0
Hardware: PC All
: P2 Trivial with 5 votes (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: christian.jansen
QA Contact: issues@sw
Keywords: oooqa
Depends on: 10760 12983 20057
  Show dependency tree
Reported: 2002-08-17 14:56 UTC by Unknown
Modified: 2013-08-07 14:41 UTC (History)
3 users (show)

See Also:
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description Unknown 2002-08-17 14:56:18 UTC
Merging is in a sore need for simplification. There are way too many steps from
a variety of menus that must be folowed to create a datasource, administrating
it and setting it up so that OOo will be able to use and then inserting fields
and proceeding into the merging. Lotus WordPro uses an Assistant or Wizard that
guides the user through the entire process, all from one dialog box. Willing to
send the developers a registered copy of WordPro so that they examine how they
implemented it.

OOo is great, lets concentrate on usability!!
Comment 1 ooo 2003-02-11 11:35:38 UTC
Are there anyone who know of a template for this - or similar autotool. 
Comment 2 hatless 2003-03-02 22:54:41 UTC
Agreed. The current merge tools as of 644_m4 are an improvement on 
the functionality in 1.0, but it's much too awkward. A Lotus-style 
wizard approach or the 3-step breakdown MS Office uses are both 
better, though both could bear improving on.

Some key issues:

1. Too many ways to insert and select fields, each with their own 
feature sets. The Mail Merge tabbed dialog has different features 
from the Insert Field pallete which in turn has different features 
than the Data Source drop-down panel. All should offer the same 
degree of drag-and-drop of field codes onto a document or a way to 
toggle between the three modes.

2. No preview mode showing live data in place of fields. I've filed 
an issue on this.

3. Poor CSV support. As of now CSV data sources are a subset of 
delimited text data sources, and handled badly as such. CSV should be 
a built-in mode selectable with a single click and no need for 
tweaking, rather than requiring the end-user to "define" what a CSV 
is using the custom delimited file tab, especially because that tab 
doesn't allow, for instance, comma delimiters AND comma thousands-
place markers at the same time. CSV is something specific, namely 
double-quoted elements delimited by commas.

4. Why require definition of a permanent data source to do a merge? 
The permanent data sources are nice, but many many times users in the 
real world just want to merge from a file once and will discard the 
file afterward. It should be possible--even EASY--to pick a tabular 
data source (CSV, spreadhseet, DBF, whatever) and go straight into 
dropping fields into the working document. Requiring users to set up 
a data source first creates several extra steps and is confusing when 
reuse isn't going to happen.

5. I'm mystified by the distinction between merging to a document, to 
envelopes, to business cards and to labels. When I tried merging to a 
Avery 4-up postcard stock I gave up after a while because I couldn't 
figure out how to apply the same layout to all the cards on a page 
and advance to next record with each card. When I use the bundled 
business-card template, there's a floating "synchronize cards" 
palette that copies the layout to all sections on the page. I found 
no way to do that with my choice of stock.

6. When merging to files, the current UI creates a separate output 
document for each data record, so if you're making 30 envelopes, 
you're creating 30 saved files of one envelope each. This has its 
uses, but I think many, many, many people would prefer the 
(defaultable) option of being able to merge to a single 30-page 
document. It's sure easier to print or tweak  the result that way.

-- Steve Koppelman
Comment 3 Oliver Specht 2003-03-17 13:59:25 UTC
os->cj: Please use this as additional input for the next mail merge
Comment 4 christian.jansen 2003-03-24 08:05:49 UTC
changed to 2.0
Comment 5 christian.jansen 2003-04-08 08:08:00 UTC
started to create the first steps for new Mail Merge.
Comment 6 aexl 2003-09-02 00:54:23 UTC
I strongly agree, especially with topics 
(4) "ad hoc data source" needed
(6) "mail merge to single file"
an important use case for this would be a database report!!!
(page breaks switched off)
Comment 7 christian.jansen 2003-09-11 15:10:24 UTC
Reassigned to Bettina.
Comment 8 phillg 2003-09-14 21:10:04 UTC
Adding dependency:

Issue 10760 - Include option to hide blank lines when generating labels
Comment 9 phillg 2003-09-14 21:33:37 UTC
Sorry, had too many Issues open at one time.  Please ignore the last
Comment 10 lohmaier 2003-10-13 17:04:11 UTC
closing issue 19116 as duplicate therefore replacing the issue in the
Comment 11 bettina.haberer 2003-10-22 16:05:23 UTC
Hello Christian, as you are the feature-owner for mail merge (you own
the concerning PCD-task), this one goes back to you and keeps on your
Comment 12 christian.jansen 2004-04-29 10:31:42 UTC
I'll close this task, but all comments are moved into task 20057. This is the
main Mail Merge Task for OO.o 2.0
Comment 13 christian.jansen 2004-04-29 10:32:16 UTC