Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

Read more carefully!

I used to have a really efficient way of doing Christmas cards. I had an MS Access database for all addresses and then could use a Report based on a Query to print the sticky address labels. I also did a mailmerge in MS Word to personalise the Christmas letters.

This summer I had to buy a new computer and I can no longer justify paying for the full MS Office. I opted to use the free open-sourece LibreOffice instead and it's pretty good. I'm no longer what one might call a "power user" of office applications and of course I'm no longer teaching students how to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher.

I've been happily using the word processor for a while and it does everything I currently need, but when I came to look at how to do a mailmerge, it seems it will only accept an address list from a database. I seem to recall that Word would do mailmerge from date in the Excel spreadsheet. Never mind, I thought, I'll just set up the addresses in the LibreOffice database.

Except it wouldn't work and I got a message about needing to install Java. Googling revealed a very helpful page and I duly downloaded the Java installation file and installed it. But would LibreOffice recognise that Java was now available? No, of course it wouldn't.

After a lot of faffing around and looking in folders, I did what I should have done the moment it didn't work and googled again. One of the pages that came up was the one I'd been using to guide me through the process, except this time a phrase jumped out at me. I needed to download the manual install of Java.

Once I'd un-installed the first version and downloaded and installed Java manually, the database worked! It all hinged on the different versions installing in different places so LibreOffice had been looking in the wrong folder. If I'd read more carefully, the job would have taken 10 minutes instead of 45, but I think all is well now.

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