Creating Personalized Thank You Cards with Publisher 2003 (Part 3 of 4)

Now that we’ve got the card exterior designed, we’re ready to work on the catalog merge.

Create the Data Source

Next, create the data source for the cards. We used the same one we used for addressing the invitation. We just added several fields to the spreadsheet:

· Salutation: The informal name you use for the person, like “Uncle Jim and Aunt Jane”, as opposed to the formal name you’d use on the wedding invitation.

· Gift? : This is just a simple yes/no field. You’ll use it to filter the records you’ll use to perform the catalog merge.

· Gift: Informal description of whatever the gift actually was.

· General comment: Whatever heart-felt sentiment you want to say. Because Publisher only prints the first 256 characters in a field, I added two comment field next to each other. Each field is roughly enough for two or three short sentences.

· General comment 2: See above.

· Picture: The path to the picture of you with this gift.

· Record merged?: If you’re not going to merge and print the cards all at once, you might want to include a data field to designate whether or not the card has been included in a merge. Just remember to change the value from False to True once you create the merge and print it. That way you can sort out the printed cards, so they won’t be included in any subsequent merge.

Fill in the data source records, and you’re ready to create the card interior itself.

Design the Card Interior

Below is the design I came up with for the inside of our Thank You cards. Notice that the inside of the card is one large catalog merge area, sized so that it repeats twice per page. I placed the picture of us with the gift on the inner side of the card front, with the personal thank you comments underneath. But that’s hardly the only way to do it. Play around, see what works for you.

I’ve marked the merge fields blue in the screen shot below to emphasize them, so you can see what they look like before the merge happens. The merge fields don’t appear in blue normally.


For the purpose of this blog, I’m assuming you know how to create and perform a catalog merge. If you don’t, take a look at these Office Online resources:

Create a catalog merge

Demo: Catalog merge turns data into designs

Create catalogs or directories

Or, for you programming types, I just happen to have written a few articles on the topic:

Create Catalogs with Publisher 2003

Sort and Filter Your Data for Mail or Catalog Merges in Publisher 2003

Tomorrow, we bring it all together.