Are you fed up with manually writing names and addresses on dozens of envelopes? Whether you’ve got a mountain of Christmas cards to send, or you need to add individual addresses to a large number of business mailings, you’ll find all the tools you need for simplifying the task in Microsoft Word. All you need is a suitable printer, those all-important printer labels and this step-by-step guide.
Note: we’re using Microsoft Word 2010 Home & Student, but the guide can be adapted for other versions too.
1. Create a blank document
Forget the themed labels available in Word templates: this project requires a blank document. Create it in the usual way – press [Ctrl] + [N] – then switch to the Mailings tab on the ribbon. From here, click the Start Mail Merge button and select Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard.
2. Select document type
The Mail Merge wizard appears as a vertical toolbar to the right of your document. Start by selecting Labels as your document type, then click Next: Starting document.
3. Set up labels
Leave Change document layout selected and click Label options. First, choose the manufacturer of your printer labels from the Label Vendor drop-down menu – for example, Avery A4/A5 for UK Avery labels. Now check the packaging for a product number and locate this from the Product Number list to ensure your labels will be correctly aligned with your paper. Once done, click OK, followed by Next: Select recipients.
4. Select recipients
Choose Type a new list and click Create, if you need to enter your names and addresses from scratch. If your names and addresses are stored in a database file, leave Use an existing list selected and click Browse to load in your file. When prompted to select a table, select the one containing your names and addresses. If it has no column headers, make sure you untick First row of data contains column headers before clicking OK and moving onto Step 6.
5. Pick from Outlook contacts
If your contact details are already stored in Outlook, choose Select from Outlook contacts and click Choose Contacts Folder. Select your profile from the list, if prompted, and click OK. Select the contacts list you wish to use, if prompted, and click OK again.
6. Select contacts to include
A list of all contacts will be displayed – simply untick those you don't wish to include in your labels before clicking OK followed by Next: Arrange your labels to continue. Consider saving your document at this point: once done, click Start Mail Merge > Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard again if it vanishes from view after saving.
7. Set up labels
Click the Address block option in the Mail Merge wizard to select what information will appear in each address label. The Preview reveals how your names and addresses will be displayed – for most people the default settings are fine (click OK), but you can use the controls on the left to tweak what's shown (for example, you may want to untick Show Company Name, if relevant) before clicking OK.
8. Format labels
Switch to the Home tab on the ribbon to format your first label further. You can change the font, style and size, plus align it to the centre of the label rather than the top left-hand corner. When choosing a font, remember to keep it legible for the postman. Unwanted changes can be reversed by clicking the Undo button or by pressing [Ctrl] + [Z].
9. Add clipart
If space permits, you can include a clipart design to personalise your labels. Switch to the Insert tab and click the Clip Art button, then use the Clip Art wizard on the left to find a suitable design. Click it and it will appear in your label – use its drag handles to shrink it – then click the Wrap Text button under Picture Tools > Format and choose Tight to flow the text around it.
Once selected, you can click and drag the picture into a more precise position on the label – make sure you leave plenty of room for the address.
10. Preview labels
Once finished, close the Clip Art dialogue. Click the Update Labels button to copy the design of the first label to all the other labels, which should now display <<Next Record>><<Address Block>>. To see a preview of how your labels will look, click the Preview Results button.
If only one label is shown, click the |< button to the right of the Preview Results button to make sure the first (rather than the last) person in your address list is selected.
11. Make further changes then finish
Click the Preview Results button again then make further changes to your first label, if necessary. When you're happy with the design, click Update Labels to ensure all your labels are identical.
12. Print your labels
Once you're happy with the labels, save your document again then click the Finish & Merge button, choosing All records when prompted, and configure your printer in the usual way. We recommend printing on a plain piece of paper first to check everything is lined up correctly.
Going forward, you'll be able to reopen the document at any time to print more labels. You can edit the list of recipients from the Edit Recipient list button, and if you've imported contacts from Outlook or a database file, changes you make to either will automatically be updated in your labels.