After almost a decade, I guess it’s time to pack in my posters,
stickers, and Tim Cook and Craig Federighi phone call scripts for
the “Bring Mail Merge back to Pages!” campaign and declare
victory. Because, yes, Mail Merge has returned to Pages.
The feature was originally included in Apple’s word processing
software, but got the axe in 2013’s version 5.0, when Apple
redesigned its iWork suite to give even footing across the iOS,
iPadOS, and macOS platforms. In the interim, Mail Merge remained
possible only via workarounds like Sal Soghoian’s Pages Data
Version 12.1, released today, brings a brand new implementation,
however, which lets you populate a template document either from
your contacts or a spreadsheet.
Two discrete thoughts on this. First, nine years is a long time, but Apple seemingly remains very committed to the iWork suite. They added some cool new features in all three apps this week.
Second, the fact that workarounds like Soghoian’s Pages Data Merge were even possible in the interim shows the essential nature of good automation/scripting support in serious apps. Automation isn’t so much about letting all users script apps, because we all know most users aren’t scripters. But automation lets the users who are scripters provide solutions for the whole community of users.