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Mail merge from LDS

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:43 am
by fozzieqbear-p40
Our bishop is trying to send out a letter to the inactive members of our ward. I have been trying to figure out how to do a merge from the names in MLS with a letter in Microsoft Word. I have tried using the export function of MLS but the names go into the Excel csv document as "Last, First". That works well for address labels but not for addressing a label and I can't find a way of making first and last names 2 different fields.

Any ideas?

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:52 am
by russellhltn
If you use MLS's own Mailing Label function, it will print it as First Last.

If you're trying to do a mail merge into the letter, then I'd suggest using some Excel functions to parse the name field and reverse the order.

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:13 am
by aebrown
RussellHltn wrote:If you're trying to do a mail merge into the letter, then I'd suggest using some Excel functions to parse the name field and reverse the order.


If anyone reading this is not very familiar with Excel, here are some formulas to extract the first and last names from a cell in "Last, First Middle" format:

  • Last: =LEFT(A1,FIND(",",A1)-1)
  • First & Middle: =MID(A1,FIND(",",A1)+2,99)
These assume that the full or preferred name is in cell A1. You can change that to whatever cell name is appropriate.

I would also note that if you have households with different mailing addresses than residential addresses, you might want to review the instructions in the wiki for Exporting Mailing Labels.

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:36 am
by RossEvans
fozzieqbear wrote:Our bishop is trying to send out a letter to the inactive members of our ward. I have been trying to figure out how to do a merge from the names in MLS with a letter in Microsoft Word. I have tried using the export function of MLS but the names go into the Excel csv document as "Last, First". That works well for address labels but not for addressing a label and I can't find a way of making first and last names 2 different fields.

Any ideas?


I do that by using the LDSql database, which imports the MLS export files and does some value-added processing. Among those features is that the database parses names into several forms suitable for mail-merge. For example:

John & Jane Doe (for address labels)

Brother and Sister Doe (for internal mail-merge within letters)

Once I have the LDSql database loaded, there a variety of ways to use those data elements in a mail-merge. It could simply be exported from a generic database tool in Firefox as CSV files, or an ODBC driver could be set up to connect directly to OpenOffice.

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:16 am
by fozzieqbear-p40
Thank you for the responses. The Excel formulas worked perfectly in separating the fields.