I haven't done this in years, but I believe that you still have to export the data from FileMaker as a merge file--a file format expressly designed for this task and then you import this data in Word in order to generate your form letters. There once was a way for Word to access data directly from your database file, but I don't think that this method works with current file formats (.fp7 and .fmp12). (going by memory of someone else's post to this forum so I could be wrong about that.)
The main advantage to using Word over FileMaker is that you can produce a more sophisticated and professional looking document. Word handles page breaks more smoothly--it can be adjusted avoid lone lines of text at the top or bottom of a multi-patge document and you can 'wrap' text around a graphic.
Of course it's up to you to determine if these features are valuable enough to your end user to justify the extra complications involved.
Pages (iLife 11) does not support mail merge from data sources other than Address Book or a Numbers document.
Word for Mac 2011(v14.1) mail merge does not recognise the .fmp12 extension. (work arounds are possible)
Mail merge and Office 2011
by Christopher Breen, Macworld.com Mar 7, 2011
Word 2011 for Mac: Filling in Data for a Mail Merge
Google "mail merge examples filemaker"
Google "mail merge site:forums.filemaker.com" Threads about mail merge on these forums
LINK #2 Custom Function - Mail Merge
360Works Scribe Plugin $100
LINK #10 SeedCode FMSpark $130
Database Publishing is the name given to merging data into a desktop publishing program - usually for catalog printing.
The first time I helped a company do this was with Pagemaker and FMP ver 4.
The catalog was lighting fixtures and had photos and graphs. The database and Pagemaker document fine tuning took three months off and on.
The catalog would update in 3 minutes - saving days and weeks of work modifying each page layout.
Applescript and or Automator is used. There are commercial software titles to do this, mostly with Indesign.
It is overkill for a mail merge letter, but...
Thank you very much for all that useful info - I have been to one of the sites and downloaded an example which i have now adapted to my own db- as my db is quite simple and only sends out a bulk mail every now and again, and they are only single page letters, then the solution I have foundworks fine - so far!
Which site? Which example? A liitle more details may help someone in the future.