Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tutorial: Formatting Addresses for Labels

Every year, I’m the sucker writing addresses on Christmas cards at midnight. This year, I put in about 45 minutes of effort, formatting my addresses properly and voila!  Labels to peel and stick! It would have been worth it for this year alone, but that formatting process just saved me for years to come.  If, that is, I can remember how to mail merge next year. My angel sister Noelle walked me through this mail merge process step by step. I’d had 3 failed attempts following online tutorials before this, so Noelle really save the day. So to help myself, and to help you (Merry Christmas!) I’m writing down a step by step tutorial to save you time and decrease your stress in December:

1.     Open a new excel spreadsheet and label the top:
This is important to label the fields with identifiable labels for mail merge in row 1.

2.     Now input all your address, one after the next following the chart. City, State and Zip must be in separate fields. For column A “Last Name” you can just input whatever you want on the first line. First name, “The Tanner Family” or whatever you want to appear on the first line.

3.     Now save your excel file in a place and with a name you’ll be able to easily find. I labeled mine 2017_Address_List and put it on my desktop!

4.     Go open a new document in word and go to Tools> Mail Merge Manager.

5.     Start at the top with step 1.  Create new “Labels” Now select Laser and Ink Jet, Avery Standard, and I used number 8660- they are made for Avery clear address labels.  I wanted to mail my cards out the same day, and didn’t plan ahead properly, so I just used Avery full page sticker paper I had on hand and used the 8660 formatting. I printed 130 addresses and it ended up requiring 4 pages. My plan for next year is to buy the 8660 pack on Amazon (Best price!) and just save the rest of the pack in my Christmas décor boxes so I have them when I need them!

6.     Now to step 2 on the Mail Merge Manager. Get List> Open Data Source. Now find and select your excel address file.

7.     Now this box will appear. Select each field and fill in so it looks like this:
Select Last Name, enter down, Street, enter down, then enter City, comma, 2 spaces, State, enter down, and then for the zip code space over all the way to the end of the state entry. Click okay! Now your formatting will appear in your document. Exciting! If you need to make changes to that formatting, click the pencil box under step 2 in the mail merge manager.

8.     Now I skip steps 4 and 5 (Im not filtering out anyones addresses) and go to 6. On my version of word, I click “Merge to new document.” And it will magically put all your addresses into a new document. Now save this doc as something you’ll find next year. Next year you can either edit this already merged/formatted document, or you can edit/update your address list in excel and do a new mail merge using this tutorial!

9.     Now to print, Noelle suggested that I insert and print one sticker paper at a time. Sometimes printers jam and you don’t want to jam up those papers one after the next! I printed one at a time and it worked just fine!

10. Stick them on, and enjoy your night drinking cider and sitting by the tree instead of running a handwriting assembly line! Merry Christmas!

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