Mail merge

How to Use the Hidden Template Feature in Apple Pages

Apple’s suite of productivity apps often pales in comparison to competing options from Google and Microsoft, but its word processor pages now includes a powerful new feature that can populate templates with just a few clicks. The company’s trio of productivity apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynote – may be the pre-installed default apps for Mac users, but business users will likely look elsewhere. Most businesses use Microsoft Office or Google Workspace for creating, editing, and sharing documents. That’s partly because iWork apps work better with Apple computers and have compatibility issues when shared with PC users. These documents can be shared with people running other computers, but may be viewed with missing fonts, errors, and may not open properly.


The next release of macOS Ventura later this fall is expected to bring a slew of upgrades to Apple’s productivity apps, from iWork apps to the long-forgotten Mail app. It was previewed at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2022, but some new features are already making their way to Mac users. In the weeks following the WWDC keynote event, Apple released a new update to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, including Pages 12.1. The release of this software update to Apple’s word processor marks the return of a feature removed in 2013 that makes it easier to autofill a template with unique information.

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The release of Pages 12.1 brings back Direct mail to word processing, a feature that was removed nearly a decade earlier following the rollout of Pages 5.0. It’s a feature that can be essential for users who need it, and just as inconsequential for users who don’t. However, in some circumstances, knowing how to mail merge in a Pages document can save users a lot of time. Mail merge works best with any document that will be personalized and “sent in the mail”, hence the name of the tool. However, these documents do not have to be mailed – any personalized document will work with direct mail. Documents that are well suited for direct mail include letters, certificates, and invitations that are individually personalized for a large group of recipients.

How to Use Direct Mail for Quick Personalizations

Mail Merge is a feature that can automatically enter individual information into a template with just a few clicks. For example, if a user needs to create 500 custom certificates using Pages, Mail Merge can automatically insert that data without manual entry. The feature can also pull data from pre-existing groups, eliminating the tedious process of entering each individual entry. Mail merge takes data that’s already in the Contacts app or a Numbers spreadsheet, simplifying the process of customizing each document. If there is a need to create a new data group, mail merge supports group creation via contact group or new number sheet.

Document templates, such as a default certificate, letter, or invitation, may already include a Mail Merge field. But if the document requires the addition of a mail merge field, simply move the cursor to the desired insertion point or highlight the text that will be personalized. Next, click on the “Documents” tab in the sidebar and click on “Mail Merge”. Select “Add Merge Field” and choose from a Contacts or Numbers data field. After adding a merge field, printing or exporting the document will create multiple versions with personalized content including names, phone numbers, and addresses. Mail Merge is a feature that most people may not use often, but when needed, it can save you hours of manually entering information into pages.

Source: Apple Support