I cannot print columns in mail merge, is this impossible?

Attempting to make a form which has some columns in it using mail merge or a link to a database, my document will print (to pdf or another document) but it does print columns that were in the original document.
Is there anything that can be done?
This was possible in Word so I was hoping it would be so in Libre Office.

Would you kindly give us the precise STEPS involved in creating your MERGE document/template?

  1. The merge document was created in Word.
  2. I was able to open it in using Mint 18.0 Mate, Libre Office Writer 5.1.42
    3.The fields in tables in a an upper section of the document. (All this was made in Word but the data fields had to be newly inserted.
  3. Below these tables are three columns which were created in Word and which I also changed and recreated in Writer.
  4. I print the document to a pdf, or odt single document with all the data and all works but no columns.
    Any ideas?

I have been able to obtain multi-column reports by setting up the MERGE template document in LO WRITER (not MS Word). It’s a bit fiddly and you will need to insert and invisible NEXT RECORD field at the end of each record block. The trick is to do ONE record block (the first of the page) and then use the copy-paste to ‘clone’ these blocks down the columns. NOTE: The last record block on the page does NOT need a NEXT RECORD field! You might need to refer to the relevant LibreOffice documentation to show how to setup the merge fields in the first block.

An ALTERNATIVE method would be to use a LABEL template (Menu: New>Labels) to create your multi-column MERGE template.

When you say at the end of each record block do you mean each field, for example if I have Firstname field then, Lastname field. As it is all of the text I have arranged in columns has no field data it is simply text that will print in every report.

I am calling the set of MERGE FIELDS used in your output the RECORD BLOCK. I prepared a screenshot to show you, but sadly I cannot work our how to attach it here!. To insert these RECORD BLOCK data fields, use the DATA SOURCES menu to show the relevant database fields above, and drag their HEADERS into the merge WRITER merge document underneath.

NEW PROBLEM: I go to “Insert”, “field”, “more fields”, then the tab - “database”, Type - “next record”, MYDATABASE is selected, “Condition” is “TRUE”, (everything else is grayed), I click on “Insert” and nothing seems to happen, I click “Close” the menu, and my document has not changed whereas when I insert a field like “page number” it works. What am I doing wrong.

You are not doing anything wrong! The “next record” character is invisible and takes no space, and so nothing looks like it changes when you insert it! IMPORTANT: only do the insert once (even if it looks like nothing is happening). As I said, you don’t need to have this special “next record” field/character for the last record on the page! (i.e. you may delete from the end of the last block it once you have ‘filled in’ all the blocks by copy-and-paste from the first block.

I tried this. It did not work for me, even though I have inserted the “next records” required and I can now see where they are enabling view field names. Very strange the columns appear on the screen when editing, but when I go to print in the print preview or in a pdf or Writer document printed, they disappear.
Looks like I may have to forget about columns.

UPDATE: I reformatted my 3 columns to one column, then inserted a manual column break at the beginning, then reformatted the following text to 3 columns. With that I am able to print one record at a time with the printer and have columns (The printer box while saying it will print all records only prints the first), when I try to create file odt or pdf there are still no columns. I find also that using the next recordcommand actually skips records.

Still looking for help. Finally, by formating the columns as a section and adding a new section after the columns, I am able to print the columns but in each case now a new page is added between the printouts for each record, as the new section without necessity continues empty onto the next page. The last record is not followed by an empty page.

I have tried it afresh on my setup and have been able to successfully generate 3 column report without any of the problems you describe. I am not sure what is happening in your case. As I cannot post a screenshot of my template (with annotations) here, it is pretty hard to show you my template setup - sorry. As I suggest in my answer above, you might want to try a 3 column LABEL template (using the label wizard). That should do the same thing.