Pages for iPad, iPhone and Mac can now use a spreadsheet to create a Mail Merge. That means you can quickly and easily make multiple copies of a document, with key information changed. Whether that’s a dozen letters or 10,000 labels – the process is exactly the same.
In this short and easy-to-follow tutorial video I’ll show you how to use Pages for iPad to create a Mail Merge which pulls data from a spreadsheet I made in Numbers. It’s really simple and opens up a lot of possibilities for how you use your iPad in the future.
The Pages app on iPad, iPhone, and Mac now allows you to do a Mail Merge. This means you can create multiple documents, each with different details, with just a few taps. Here’s how it works on iPad.
As you can see, I’ve got two documents open. On the left-hand side is a letter I want to send out to students in my school, and on the right-hand side is a spreadsheet containing data such as the class they’re currently in, the class they’re going to next academic year, and their Showbie code to join their new Showbie class online. Obviously, these aren’t real details or real Showbie codes!
I want to create a letter for every child, but I don’t want to copy and paste all that information for each class. Thankfully, this is where Mail Merge comes in. So, I’m going to pull across my screen and hide my spreadsheet for a moment, and now you can see my letter a bit clearer. I’ve put some question marks in as placeholders, but what I want is to pull information from my spreadsheet to populate this letter. And it’s super easy!
So, I’m going to tap where the first piece of data is going to go – in my case, the old class number – and then I’m going to press the three dots on the top toolbar. From this menu, I’m going to scroll down and choose Mail Merge. Now, at the moment, there’s nothing here because we haven’t imported a document, so let’s get on that and press the plus button in the top right corner.
You can use the Contacts app on your device to pull in contact details, but I want to use the spreadsheet I showed you earlier. So, we’re going to tap Add From Spreadsheet at the bottom of this screen. This will bring us straight into the Files browser, and from there, we can navigate and find the spreadsheet we saved.
Now, when you import this spreadsheet, Pages will automatically look at the tables on that document and the table headers. If you’ve got a more complex spreadsheet with more than one table, you can also tap here and select the table you want to use. As you can see, I’ve got things like Old Class Number, New Class Number, Teacher’s Name, and Showbie Codes – and they’re now showing up in Pages.
We’ll press Done now, and then go back to our menu option on the right-hand side. From here, we’re going to choose the field we want to replace that first question mark with. So for me, it’s Old Class. When I tap on there, you’ll then see the words Old Class go into my Pages document. It doesn’t show the number of the class, but that will come later.
I can now delete the question mark and repeat this process for the new class. So, I’ll position my cursor where I want the new class number to go and then press those three dots in the top menu bar. Again, we’ll scroll down to Mail Merge and then press the Plus button – this time to add a new field of data. We’re going to choose New Class, and I can repeat that process for the rest of my document.
Every time I do that, I can then delete the question mark that was the placeholder, and I can also reformat that text as well. Even though it’s a Mail Merge field, we can still apply all the normal formatting in Pages: font size, font choice, colour – all of those things.
Okay, now we’re done, we’re going to press the three dots in the top corner again and go down to Mail Merge one last time. From here, you’re going to press the orange Mail Merge button at the top of this menu, and then you’ll get a new sheet that comes up confirming what’s about to happen. So underneath, you can see the different fields we’re pulling in from the spreadsheet, and then when we press Merge in the top corner, Pages will do its magic.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got five rows of data or 5000 rows of data, Pages will go through each one and make a new version of the document with that information.
Okay, now we can view that document that’s been created. So, I’m going to press Open, and Pages will now bring up a whole new document with every version of that as a new page. If I scroll down, you can see I’ve got more than one document with different Showbie codes, different class numbers, and different teacher names.
But hang on – I haven’t quite done this properly! You might notice in the second paragraph, it says you’ll join your new class, but then rather than the class number, it’s got the Showbie code. That should just be the number.
Oh dear, it’s almost like I wanted to show you how you can go back and correct a mistake! So, what we’re going to do is jump back into the original document in Pages, and when we
‘ve done this, we’re going to find that old data field we don’t want. So for me, it’s called New Showbie Code. If I tap on that and then just press delete on the keyboard, that will get rid of that Mail Merge action, and then I can add a new field just like before.
Tap those three dots, go to Mail Merge, and this time we’re just going to choose New Class. Then, I can repeat the process to export this as a document. Three dots, Mail Merge, orange button, and then Merge. And look at that, I’ve now got a Pages document that I can set as a print run, and then I’ll get all of these letters ready to go for my new children next year.
This has saved me a ton of time using Mail Merge, and this is only on a document with 10 or 12 fields. Imagine if you had to do something with 300 or even a thousand fields? Mail Merge is a great tool, and it’s wonderful to finally have it in Pages.
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