Goodbye Mail Merge… and Other Features Now Removed From iWork


This week Apple released brand new versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers together with an array of sparkling new features such as a fresh new design, better sharing options, interactive charts and improved multitouch gestures. You can also be sure that your documents now look the same regardless of whether you’re working on your Mac, iPhone, iPad or web browser.

However this comes as an expense, although compatibility is improved, a number of features which have been part of iWork ’09 have been removed. You may wish to think twice about updating to the latest versions. This page is a list of all the known difficulties found so far, and some workarounds (without having to resort of Microsoft Office – hopefully)

Issue: There is no option to customise the toolbar. – FIXED
Affects: Pages, Keynote, Numbers
Details: Being able to add additional icons to the toolbar was a great way to have shortcuts to your favourite tools.
Workaround: Fixed with latest update from the App Store. You can customise the toolbar by going to the View menu and select ‘Customise Toolbar’

Issue: There is no formatting bar.
Affects: Pages, Keynote, Numbers
Details: The format bar gives you access to common tools to allow you to change font, colour and text alignment from the top of the window. This seems to have been removed to simplify the interface.
Workaround: Although it may seam like madness that the format bar has been retired. The new formatting sidebar (on the right) does a pretty good job to switching to the ‘Text’ option everything everytime you need it.

Issue: No inline images in tables.
Affects: Pages, Keynote, Numbers
Details: If you open any older document with images residing inside table cells, they will have simply disappeared! Trying to drag a image (or pasting) into a table cell will simply no longer work.
Workaround: Fixed – with latest update from the App Store. You can now drag and drop images into table cells again. Hooray!

Issue: Mail Merge is no longer available
Affects: Pages
Details: There is no longer the option to perform a mail merge within Pages.
Workaround: No solution other than using alternative software such as Libre Office or Microsoft Office.

Issue: Table Categories are gone from Numbers
Affects: Numbers
Details: The ability to group your records of data by categories has disappeared from Numbers. A fantastic feature which made huge tables of data more user friendly.
Workaround: There’s no easy alternative apart from creating separate tables on separate worksheets

Other features removed:

  • Multi-color highlighting
  • Open recent… from Template Chooser
  • Comments listing in sidebar
  • Importing Styles
  • Capture and Manage Pages – Fixed
  • Internal hyperlinks
  • Outlining
  • RTF import and export
  • Delete/move/copy/paste page within a document – Partially fixed. You can rearrange sections in Pages, but not copy sections.
  • Linked text boxes
  • Most Applescript support
  • OpenType font support
  • Facing page view
  • Keyboard shortcuts for styles – fixed

This list is not complete and will be kept up-to-date over the next few days/weeks.

Update: Apple have responded, detailing that many missing features will be re-added to iWork within the next 6 months (details here). However, there is no mention of Mail Merge returning.

Update 2: The April 2014 update adds a number of new/returning features including:

New “view only” setting lets you share documents you want others to view but not edit
• Delete, duplicate and reorder sections using the page navigator
• Inline images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import
• Copy-paste style improvements
• Better placement of inserted and pasted objects
• Improved Instant Alpha image editing
• Media Browser improvements, including search
• Improved AppleScript support
• New Arabic and Hebrew templates
• Improved support for bi-directional text
• Word count for Hebrew
• Create custom data formats
• Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
• Show rulers as a percentage of document size
• Improved text box behaviour
• Improved EndNote support, including citations in footnotes
• Improved ePub export
• Usability improvements

Posted in Keynote, Numbers, Pages
17 comments on “Goodbye Mail Merge… and Other Features Now Removed From iWork
  1. Neil C says:

    The new and “improved” iWork in iCloud, and now Mavericks on the desktop, lacks many of the productivity features of iWork ’09? For example, the new Pages (in Mavericks and iCloud) does not appear to support Mail Merge, which is an essential for me. Also, the Numbers app doesn’t allow categories. I use categories all the time in Numbers ’09 to subtotal various things. Now you cannot do this apparently. Seems like Apple is going backwards!

  2. David says:

    I am astounded that Mail Merge has been removed from Pages. What are you thinking Apple?

  3. Wayne says:

    Very disappointing that as a LONG time Mac user, I must now use Word and Excel for my business. C’mon Apple, do not leave us hanging like this.

  4. Wayne says:

    Also, my initial anticipation of the new features in Pages and Numbers is gone as I realize how many documents and spreadsheets I am going to be “forced” to convert to Word and Excel, just to recapture the Merge feature. Off now to upgrade both of those Microsoft products, spending some $$. Folks at Microsoft must be smiling…

  5. Doug says:

    I just moved from a Windows PC to an iMac and have been astounded that I cannot send out my monthly mail merge letter to my tenants. Gee, this takes the shine off my new apple!

    • Wayne says:

      Yeah, quite a bummer. I have been slowly moving files back to Word / Excel and updating my Microsoft applications.

      • Luke says:

        Don’t forget there are also free alternatives if you’d rather not resort to MS Office. Open Office and Libre Office both offer mail merge capabilities too.

  6. Mandi says:

    What is the workaround for MailMerge? You seem to have copy and pasted the answer from the previous issue (No inline images in tables)

  7. You are kidding most of my business revolves around mail merge to my clients why don’t Apple tell their clients that the new and improved version has features removed,
    what’s my changes of compensation, Apple just stole my computer program, when will they return it.

  8. William Rood says:

    The mail merge function you mourn remains alive and well in iWork 09. Installation of the new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote did not remove the beloved iWork suite, so you can still do mail merges and all the other functions you enjoyed on previous versions. Just don’t remove iWork from your computers. Having said this, it still is wrong for Apple to simply walk away from valuable features that affect so many users. It’s not just corporate and business users. Individual users use mail merge for Christmas mailings and other purposes. I will be surprised if the world’s most valuable company doesn’t correct this problem in future upgrades.

  9. Paul W says:

    The historic and continued lack of label templates and the removal of Mail Merge from Pages makes this software almost completely unusable as a business tool. Not since the early days of Word Perfect has anyone, Microsoft especially, offered a word processing software package which was simple, intuitive, easy, accurate and above all USABLE.

    Unfortunately WORD dominates and everyone, Corel included, followed their lead ruining their own products in the process. There may be other software produces who have done a good job but for the none technical, none publishing market trained ordinary person there is nothing as good as Word Perfect used to be.

    If Corel would write for OS/X or if Apple had looked at what they did and produced the same easy functionality into Pages they would have a world beater to match their hardware. As it is what we have is a cumbersome bad joke. When they machines are so brilliant why does their software have to be so poor?

  10. Lori C says:

    Thank you to those who suggested using Mail Merge in iWork ’09. It WAS still installed on my iMac, and it worked perfectly.

    In case anyone else needs to go back to iWork ’09 to do a mail merge, note that I had to export my numbers document created with the updated version to a Numbers ’09 version first, and then the merge worked perfectly. Before exporting to the older version, I got an error message when I tried to merge stating that my numbers file didn’t have a header row, even though it did. Hope this is helpful.

    Of course, the best solution would be for Pages to include Mail Merge so we don’t need work arounds. I use Pages for design work and I use mail merge all the time for client orders. If not for this work around, I would have to abandon Pages, because like so many others who posted here, I need this feature. I’m wondering what else isn’t in the new version…

  11. geoff preston says:

    WHY? Why remove something that works perfectly well? Why not just leave it there? Even if it’s no longer supported, it worked. It was just brilliant. I only need Mail Merge twice a year, and it was dead simple, unlike MS Office which I never get right first time. And what Apple no appear to be saying is that if you want MM, buy a competitor’s product. ???

  12. Eric says:

    it is now 2015. has any one heard if Apple is going to put back mail merge in Pages?

    • Luke says:

      Still no sign of Mail Merge although Apple announced ‘Apple Script’ support for Mail Merge, but we can’t figure it out yet.
      In the meantime, Microsoft are on the verge of releasing the new 2016 version of Office for Mac. Libre Office also provides Mail Merge features for free, but it’s not the easiest to get your head around.

  13. dmitry says:

    here is one more Mail Merge product from Cristallight

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