Computer 101 question

Barb Pelton

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Only I could get so overwhelmed by such an easy task...
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I'm doing a newsletter for our PPFA chapter, and it involves mailing out to about 250 addresses. I thought that I would be able to enter all of the info into my address book, and then do a mail merge to print out labels. This seemed simple. I actually managed to do this a few months ago, but now I can't remember how I did it, as it was the product of several hours of work into the wee hours....maybe I just dreamed it.

Anyway, I have all of the updated info in my address book and cannot get it to merge to save my life, even though the instructions clearly lead me to believe that this is not only possible, but should be simple and painless.

I now think that I have messed up dearly by putting this info in the address book, but since I am trying to grow this into a e-newsletter, I thought this would be the place to keep snailmail info along with the e-mail info. Perhaps I should have used a database or spreadsheet program, of which I have no experience. What I have on my computer here is MicroSoft Works 2002; I think it is the same version on the one at work. I would appreciate any suggestions of how to accomplish my objective in an efficient manner.

Another thing: I'm Using Microsoft Picture It! Publishing to create these newsletters, and although it is a very easy program to use, it seems "glitchy". Sometimes (often) it just quits responding in the middle of a project, or if I'm typing something there will be a long delay before what I've typed actually appears on my screen. Sometimes, it just closes. (I've learned to "save" my work quite often.) I've looked on other forums on-line to see if I can find some answers, but with no results. I used to encounter these problems when I was running ME, but when I upgraded to XP it pretty much stopped. *sigh*...

Thanks in advance.
 

Baer Charlton

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Barb, you're a far more patient person then I. About the second time Picture It! closed up shop on me, I was in Add/Uninstall so fast the bytes were coming off in chunks.
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I build all my newsletters in Publisher now. As for mail merge.... it's suppossed to happen
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Ron Eggers

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MS Publisher is an easy and intuitive program with all the functions you're likely to need. I use it nearly every day.

You can set up a database in MS Works and open it in Publisher as the data source for a mail merge. This is much easier than setting up the mailing list in Publisher.

Not sure if there's a simple way to get the addresses from your address book into Works.
 

JFeig

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I am not sure what is in your mailing list besides active PPFA members. If it is just the current members simply call PPFA and they will gladly run off labels for your chapter at no charge.
 

jframe

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Barb, I think PMAI can get the names to you in a format you can use. I emailed you the name of the person who does our Chapter newsletter. I think she can help you.
 

CharlesL

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Barb Pelton

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Thanks JO and Jerome,
I do get PPFA member labels run off quarterly, and then I just copy those onto other labels, so that I always have a ready cache, just in case I need them. We only have about 68 members in our chapter, and I mail out 180 or so non-members. (Trying to beef up the membership, don'tcha know!).

Ok, I'll check out Publisher. I've had a couple of other people recommend Publisher (they looked at me quizzically when I mentioned Picture It.)Baer, I might have to borrow your flame thrower.

Now, I'm a little anxious about the other programs bundled into Works. Word seems OK, but Picture It is a hassle, and I have no idea what breed the data base and spreadsheet programs are.
I suppose I can try it and see, but does anyone have any experience yea or neigh with these programs? I'm a little gun-shy right now, after all, PictureIt performed nicely for some time.

Oops, forgot to ask, "Which version of Pulisher should I get?" Is any particular one better?

(Charles, I feel for you. Really. ;) )
 

Mike Labbe

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Publisher will probably be the best and easiest way. That's one program I have never tried!

We use MS Word for our newsletters, postcard mailings, and mail merges that get printed on the postcards. If you want to try it with Word, there's a "Mail Merge Wizard" that will guide you through the process of inserting the variables within your source document - to determine where the imported data will be inserted. You then point it to an external file, and tell it to "merge" and voila!

The "Wizard" can be found in (Word):
TOOLS -> LETTERS & MAILINGS -> MAIL MERGE WIZARD

Mike
 

Barb Pelton

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I've gotten it to work (mail merge) here at work using the address book, although it took some doing. If I choose the Mail Merge feature from the Works menu, I can't get it to work. If I create a blank document and start it from the tool bar, it works. ??? I have to start the Wizard, select document type, skip the setup step, select the address book, go back to tool bar, THEN select names from the address book, then go through the Wizard again, and THEN it will merge. Crazy. Not at all the sequence which I printed out from Help. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong...

I'll try this at home tonight and see if it works there. It seems like once you select the address book, that a window should open so that you could select your group or names at that point...but that would be logical.
 

Ron Eggers

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Barb, the database and spreadsheet in MS Works are actually pretty robust. The spreadsheets can be opened in Excel if you outgrow works.

Picture It! was tacked on at some point with some packages. Sometimes they throw in MS Money or something else you don't need.

Any version of Publisher should serve you well. It is bundled with some flavors of MS Office or is available as a stand-alone - probably only in an XP version (which I think is what you're running.)
 
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