Bug 52542 - Messed up elements (footers, tables, graphics) on mail merge prints, okay up to LO/OO V3.2. Example attached.
Summary: Messed up elements (footers, tables, graphics) on mail merge prints, okay up ...
Status: RESOLVED DUPLICATE of bug 52523
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Writer (show other bugs)
(earliest affected) release
Hardware: Other All
: high critical
Assignee: Not Assigned
Depends on:
Reported: 2012-07-26 13:17 UTC by zap
Modified: 2012-07-27 10:11 UTC (History)
0 users

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Crash report or crash signature:

Example producing messed up mail merge outputs (on current LO/OOs only) (60.43 KB, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text)
2012-07-26 13:17 UTC, zap

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Description zap 2012-07-26 13:17:54 UTC
Created attachment 64733 [details]
Example producing messed up mail merge outputs (on current LO/OOs only)

I hope somebody will read this long post. But obviously something mysterious happend to LO/OO after v3.2.

I consider all this a candidate for the "most annoying bug". 

I am preparing a rather complex mail letter with switching page forms (first page to standard) and backgrounds (vector drawings from Impress, linked via header), cr code and photo graphics, tables, one rotated text box and of course database fields, conditional output and so forth.
I'm familiar with these things and their problems, being an early DOS-Starwriter user (yes, even with paid licenses back in the days).

Surprisingly all of these features worked when I started a first run with a filled database, but the output was a complete mess though:
On some (not all) pages of the generated mail letters (4 pages each) footers were dropped (including page numbers), on the first letter (or data set) some (not all) graphics were gone, on the next letter they reappeared. From some page on tables were shrunk: their text contents -no variables- were gone. Boxes moved to the wrong page. Nearly everything was affected.
First I thought this had to do with the pdf export, but paper prints were messed up as well.

Then I removed "suspicious" features one by one, but that also didn't help. The remaining elements were still corrupted, there was no "critical" element to be isolated.

That led me to the idea that something more general could be buggy and I started to test other/former versions and this approach was successful:
LibreOffice Portable 3.5.5: buggy output
Apache OpenOffice Portable 3.4: buggy output
OpenOffice Portable 3.0: EVERYTHING PERFECT (okay, some impress issues, because of the newer graphic source, but nothing lost during the merge process)
OpenOffice Portable 3.2: EVERYTHING PERFECT (...)
All are portable versions (Apache is from a different source - winpenpack vs portableapps) I could find, but from the results it's obvious that the problems don't have to do with portable or not.

The fact is that somewhere later than OO 3.2 the code (maybe of the mail merge component) must have been changed (in both forks) and seems to be pretty capricious now.

Attached there's an example file, which is stripped to the basics and linked to the default "biblio" database, but it may be linked to any database.

If you print this as mail merge you will see all of the effects I mentioned above.
Remember - all these strange things won't happen in versions up to 3.2!
In my original file single prints are flawless. 

But the example file will also show another strange effect in ALL versions:  
If you run single prints the last pages will be ROTATED (not shown in the preview).
Maybe this is a key to the whole problem, so I leave it as it is.
Comment 1 zap 2012-07-26 14:14:46 UTC
The "rotation" effect of the example file was the last I found this night and I found it in all versions I have installed.
Today I found that (only) this effect isn't reliable: sometimes it's there, sometimes it's gone, but it was always correctly "predicted" in the print preview (not the page preview).
Comment 2 zap 2012-07-27 10:11:32 UTC

*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of bug 52523 ***