Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge

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1 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge No Typing! The Quick and Easy Way to Print Sheets of Address Labels Here at PC Knowledge for Seniors we re often asked how to print sticky address labels in Microsoft Word. Our answer always involves typing the address yourself, and that s fine if you only want one label, but what if you need to print labels for a group of people perhaps to send invitations or Christmas cards? Luckily, a Word 2003/XP feature named mail merge makes light work of this. Once you know the routine, you can print address labels for dozens (or hundreds!) of people in just a few quick clicks. Read on to see how this time-saving feature works. By Don Levison How Mail Merge Makes Light Work of Printing Address Labels... The Vital First Step: Preparing Your Data Source... Follow these Steps to Create Your Mail Merge Labels in Word... How To Print Your Finished Labels on Paper... W 530 / 2 W 530 / 3 W 530 / 8 W 530 / 15 W 530 / 1 Microsoft Word 2003/XP This article shows you how to:... Print any number of labels quickly and easily in Word using mail merge... Print addresses from the Windows Address Book... Create an Excel spreadsheet to store your addresses 81

2 W 530 / 2 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge Printing individual labels is easy in Word 2003/XP This is very slow if you have a lot of contacts! How Mail Merge Makes Light Work of Printing Address Labels Among its many useful features, Microsoft Word 2003/XP provides a straightforward way to print address labels. In case you ve turned to this article looking for a way to print just one or two labels, let s quickly run through the steps needed: 1. In Microsoft Word, choose Tools > Letters and Mailings > Envelopes and Labels. 2. In the dialog that appears, select the Labels tab. 3. Click the Options button. 4. In the Label products box, select the brand of labels you re using (such as Avery A4 and A5 sizes ). Then, in the larger list-box below, select the type of label you use. (The reference number should be shown on your sheet of labels, or on their packaging.) 5. Click OK to return to the dialog you were using in step Click the New Document button. 7. Now you ll see a new Word document marked out with boxes, each box matching up with a label on your sheet. Simply click inside the box corresponding to the label you want to print on to, and type the address. 8. After typing the addresses you need, insert your sheet of labels into your printer and choose File > Print to print the labels. That s easy enough if you want to print just one address, or even two or three, but what if you want to print dozens? Using this method, it s going to be a long, slow job, involving a huge amount of typing! 82

3 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 3 Click in the required boxes and type the addresses This is where the mail merge feature steps in to help you. If you already have all your addresses stored in a suitable place on your computer, why should you have to type them again? Instead, simply tell Word where your addresses are stored: Word will then load those addresses and insert them into labels for you automatically. That process is known as mail merge. Although this article focuses on printing labels, you can use mail merge for all sorts of other things too. For example, you could have your addresses printed on to envelopes rather than labels, or print personalised letters to a group of people by telling Word to insert the correct names and addresses into each copy of the letter it prints. Mail merge generates labels from a list of addresses The Vital First Step: Preparing Your Data Source A moment ago I mentioned that you must have your addresses stored in a suitable place on your computer. By this I mean that they must be in a file that Microsoft Word is able to read and 83

4 W 530 / 4 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge 84 You can save addresses from the Windows Address Book or create an Excel spreadsheet You can export your addresses to a new file that Word can use understand. (Word refers to this file as a data source.) There are two main options available: Perhaps you keep your contacts addresses in the Windows Address Book (which is the address book used by Outlook Express for addresses). Microsoft Word can t read this Address Book, but we can save all your addresses into another file which Word does understand. I ll explain how to do that under the heading How to export your Address Book ready for a mail merge below. If you use Microsoft Excel, you can store your address list in an Excel spreadsheet, which is ideal for mail merge. Jump ahead to page 6 where I ll show you how to create an address spreadsheet. If you use Microsoft Access, perhaps you ve created a database for your addresses? Unfortunately I don t have space to explain how to do that (Access is rather a complicated program!), but if you ve already done so, Word will happily use your Access database for mail merge with no advance preparation needed. How to export your Address Book ready for a mail merge The Windows Address Book is quite a good place to store your addresses, being available from the Start menu and from Outlook Express. However, as I ve mentioned, Word can t actually read this address book. To use the addresses it contains in a mail merge, we have to open the Address Book and save its contents into a new file. Follow these steps to do that: 1. Open the Start menu and go to All Programs (in Windows XP) or Programs (in other versions of Windows) > Accessories > Address Book.

5 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 5 2. When the Address Book window appears, choose File > Export > Other Address Book. 3. In the dialog that appears (pictured in the next screenshot), choose Text File (Comma Separated Values) and click the Export button. Select the Text File option Click Export 4. In the next step, click the Browse button and you ll see an ordinary Save As dialog (the same dialog you see when you save a new file from any program). Open the Save in box at the top of this dialog and choose Desktop, then click in the File name box at the bottom and type a name for this file (such as Addresses ), then click the Save button. 5. Click the Next button. 6. Now you ll see a dialog like the one pictured in the next screenshot. This dialog lets you choose the information you ll need for each person in your Address Book by ticking or unticking boxes. For address labels, all you ll need are the names and home addresses of your contacts, so make sure there are ticks beside Name and beside the various Home address items (Home Street, Home City, and so on). Choose a name for the file and save it to your desktop Tick the name and address items in the list 85

6 W 530 / 6 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge Make sure the Name and home-address items are ticked Click Finish You can create an ever-expanding spreadsheet of addresses 7. Finally, click the Finish button. A little message will appear, telling you that the export process was completed, and you ll see a new file named Addresses (or whatever name you chose in step 4) arrive on your desktop. Click the Close button in the Address Book Export Tool dialog, and close the Address Book window. The reason we ve saved this file to your desktop is that we only need it temporarily. Once the mail merge has been completed and you ve printed out your labels, you won t need this file any more and you can delete it. Having it on your desktop makes it easy to find and delete once you ve finished with it. How to create an address spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel If you have Microsoft Excel, an Excel spreadsheet is an excellent place to keep contacts names and addresses, especially if you regularly need to print labels, letters or envelopes for several contacts at once. Here are the steps to follow to set up an address spreadsheet: 86

7 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 7 1. Start Microsoft Excel, which automatically gives you a blank spreadsheet to start working on. 2. In the first row of your spreadsheet, type the headings Name, Address, Town, County and Postcode, one in each cell, as shown in the following screenshot. 3. Now, starting at the second row, enter your contacts names and addresses below those headings, with one contact on each line, like the example in the next screenshot. Type headings in row 1, and each contact in a new row below them 4. That s all there is to it! Save this spreadsheet with a memorable name in your My Documents folder (or anywhere you prefer that will be easy to find). As you gain more contacts in the future, you can open this spreadsheet and add new names and addresses to the list. 87

8 W 530 / 8 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge Using your addresses file to generate labels Follow These Steps to Create Your Mail Merge Labels in Word So, you ve created an Excel spreadsheet or an Access database containing your addresses, or you ve created a new file containing the addresses from your Windows Address Book. Now you re ready to use mail merge in Microsoft Word to print those addresses on to labels. Follow these steps to create your address labels: 1. Start Microsoft Word, which will automatically give you a new, blank document. It s this document that will soon contain your labels. 2. Choose Tools > Letters and Mailings and click Mail Merge in Word 2003, or Mail Merge Wizard in Word XP. 3. You ll see a panel headed Mail Merge appear at the right of the window (shown in the next screenshot), and it s in this panel that we ll follow steps to set up our labels. Start by clicking the Labels option in this panel, to specify that we want to create labels, and then click the blue text that reads Next: Starting document at the bottom of the panel to move to the next step. Click Labels Click this blue text to move to the next step 88

9 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 9 4. In the next step, we have to tell Microsoft Word what type of label we want to print. Click the blue text that says Label options and you ll see the dialog I described on page 2 of this article. Choose the brand and product number of your labels and click OK. As soon as you do this, your blank page in Word will change to show a sheet of empty labels. You re ready to move to the next step, so click the blue text at the bottom that says Next: Select recipients. Click Label options and choose the brand of labels you re using Click this blue text to move to the next step 5. In this step, begin by making sure there s a blob beside the option Use an existing list. (If there isn t, click this option to place a blob there.) Further down, click the blue text that says Browse. Make sure this option is selected Click Browse... to select your file of addresses 89

10 W 530 / 10 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge Select the file containing your addresses 6. Now you ll see a familiar-looking dialog. Although it says Select Data Source at the top, it s the very same dialog you use whenever you want to select a file to open in any program. In this dialog, find and select the file you prepared earlier containing your contacts addresses your Excel spreadsheet, Access database, or the file on your desktop containing the people in your Windows Address Book. After finding and selecting the file, click the Open button in this dialog to confirm this is the file you want to use. 7. If you re using an Excel spreadsheet containing addresses, you ll see the dialog pictured below. Word wants to know if the first row of your spreadsheet contains headings. If you followed the steps earlier in this article to create your spreadsheet, it definitely does, so make sure there a tick in the box beside First row of data contains column headers and click the OK button. Make sure this box is ticked and click OK 8. Now you ll see another dialog containing a list of all the contacts in the file you selected. Although this dialog looks rather messy and complicated, we can ignore most of it. All we need to do is decide who needs a label and who doesn t. If there s a contact in the list for whom you don t want to print a label, click the box to the left of that contact to remove its tick. When you re ready to continue, click the OK button. 90

11 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 11 Remove the tick beside anyone you want to exclude Click OK If you find you ve chosen the wrong file, don t worry. Just click OK in the dialog above anyway to return to the main Word window. In the panel on the right you ll see some blue text that says Select a different list. Click that text and you ll return to step Now you re back at the main Word window, where you can see that all your labels except the first contain some odd-looking text the words Next Record, enclosed in anglebrackets. This is all as it should be, so take no notice! At the bottom of the Mail Merge panel click the blue text that says Next: Arrange your labels. 10.The next step is where we create our label. We do this using the blank label in the top left corner of the page, but we don t actually have to type anything other than pressing the Enter key to separate one line of the address from the next. I ll show you how to do this over the next few steps. 11. Make sure the cursor is flashing in that first label. (If it isn t, click the mouse somewhere inside that label.) In the Mail Merge panel on the right, click More items. Click inside the label in the top left corner 91

12 W 530 / 12 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge 12.You ll now see the dialog pictured in the next screenshot. This lists all the headings that were included in your spreadsheet or Address Book. If you re using an Excel spreadsheet, you ll recognise these headings because they are the headings you typed yourself. If your addresses came from the Windows Address Book, the headings will still be easy to recognise, having obvious names such as Name, Home Street and Home City. Select Name Click Insert Click Close Add the 'Name' item to your label 13.As the first line of any address label should be a person s name, select the Name item in this dialog. Click the Insert button, and then the Close button beside it. If you now look at your first label, you ll see it contains the word Name surrounded by angle-brackets, with the cursor flashing beside it. Add the address lines to your label Now press the Enter key to move to a new line. 15.Now we start adding each line of the address

13 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 13 in the same way. Click the blue More items text again to display the dialog we were using in step 12. This time, select the item corresponding to the first line of the address: if you created a spreadsheet using the headings I suggested, this is the Address item; if your addresses came from the Windows Address Book, this is the Home Street item. Once again, click Insert then Close. 16.Press the Enter key again to move to another new line. If you insert the wrong item from the list accidentally, don t worry. Make sure the dialog is closed (by clicking its Close button), then click to the right of the incorrect item in your label and press the Backspace key twice. That will delete the item from your label and you can click More items again to insert the correct item there. Alternatively, if you get into a mess with the label and want to start again, just highlight everything in that first label using the mouse, press Delete to delete it, and then go back to step Follow steps 15 and 16 repeatedly to add the town, then the county, then the postcode to your label, pressing Enter between each so that they appear on separate lines. When you ve finished, the first label will look similar to the next screenshot. Your finished label will look similar to this 93

14 W 530 / 14 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge Tell Word to update all the labels on the sheet 18.Congratulations that s all the tricky stuff done! What we ve got is the layout for one address label, and the final job is to tell Word that all the labels should be laid out in the same way. To do this, click the Update all labels button on the right (shown in the next screenshot). After doing this, click the blue text that says Next: Preview your labels. Click Update all labels Click this blue text to continue 19.The items we ve been inserting so far, with their grey backgrounds and angle-brackets, are known as field names. They indicate where names and parts of addresses will appear on the label when Word has merged your list of contacts into these labels. In this step, you should now be able to see the result: for each person in your contacts list, Word has created a label on your sheet containing the real address details. (If there are a lot of people on your contacts list, the end result may be several sheets of labels rather than just one.) Click the blue text that says Next: complete the merge to move to the final step. 94

15 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge W 530 / 15 You can now see real address details in the labels Click this blue text to continue Don t be put off by the grey backgrounds you see behind the text on the labels this only appears on the screen. When you print out your labels, those grey backgrounds will be gone. How To Print Your Finished Labels on Paper In the final step above, your labels won t look any different on the screen, but you ll notice that the Mail Merge panel on the right has changed again. The panel now gives you two options, pictured below: Print or Edit individual labels. If you want to print your labels straight away, click the Print option. A tiny dialog will appear asking which you want to print. Make sure the All option is selected and click OK. Finally, you ll see a Print dialog: click OK in this dialog to print the labels. Once the labels have been printed out, you can close Microsoft Word (choosing No when asked if you want to save the document). You can print the labels with a couple of clicks 95

16 W 530 / 16 Word: Print Address Labels Using Mail Merge or check and edit them first The second option, Edit individual labels, is useful if you d like to look through all the labels before printing them perhaps to make sure none of them contains blank lines or long lines that don t fit into the label. After clicking this option, select All in the little dialog that appears and click OK, and a second Word window will open. This window contains a new document showing all your labels (perhaps running to several sheets, depending on how many contacts were in your list and how many labels fit on a sheet). You can work your way through this document to check and edit the labels in any way you like, exactly as if you d typed every word yourself. When you re happy with the result, choose File > Print to print it. Choose Edit individual labels to check and edit each label separately before you print 96

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