Mail merge in Abiword

A little mundane but I had to print out fifty personalized letters for our music studio. The quick solution, of course, is to use mail merge. However, for the life of me, I could quite figure out's mail merge function, not even with the Mail Merge Wizard.

Rather than bang my head on that, I decided to use Abiword instead.

Even on Abiword, mail merge isn't nearly as intuitive as I would like it. For one thing, the actual merging must be done on the command line. Fortunately, there's a good instruction page on mail merge over at the official Abiword web site.

In a nutshell, here are the steps I took for mail merge:

  1. Create a CSV (comma separated value) file of the source data (in my case, student names and parent names). I did this in Gnumeric and simply exported out.
  2. On the Abiword menu, click on Insert->Mail Merge Field.... This will bring up the mail merge dialog box.

  3. On the dialog box, click on "Open File" and select the source data. This will then make the fields available for selection.
  4. Insert fields at the proper locations.
  5. Save the file.
  6. To actually run the merge:

abiword -m mergeme.csv -p mergeme.abw

where mergeme.csv is the source data, is the output file, and mergeme.abw is the document with the merge fields.

This will produce a postscript file,, which can be viewed prior to printing.