Once again, we're revisiting our old favourite - using Mail Merge to print Christmas address labels!
While we’ve blogged about mail merges before (including seasonal and non-seasonal varieties), it’s always good to have a refresher. Plus, it’s a chance to welcome those of you who might be entirely new to the wonderful (and sometimes slightly traumatic) world of printing your own Christmas labels.
If you’re not sure how to go about doing a Mail Merge, we highly recommend using Word’s built in Step By Step Mailing Wizard.
Watch a video: this advice is also available in video format.
View our step by step How To video to learn how to use mail merge to make labels.
Select the “Mailings” tab, click “Start Mail Merge”, and select “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard”.
There are SIX STEPS to follow to complete your Mail Merge (and they go something like this)…
STEP 1: DOCUMENT TYPE
STEP 2: STARTING DOCUMENT
You can use a built in template (if compatible with your labels), set up your own template, or use an existing template (for example, if you’ve downloaded a template from our website or have an existing template saved on your computer).
- Built-in Template: click “Label Options”, select your Label vendor (e.g. A4/A5), and choose the correct code from the list.
- New Template: click “Label Options”, select “New Label”, and fill in the required fields with the measurements of your labels.
- Existing Template: select “Start from existing document” and click “Open” to locate the saved template you want to use.
STEP 3: SELECT RECIPIENTS
Select “Use an existing list” and click “Browse” to locate your list of addresses.
To complete a Mail Merge, your addresses must be saved in a database format (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet).
The “Select Table” box may show multiple options: these are the different tabs in your spreadsheet or tables/queries in your database, so you’ll need to select the option that contains your address list.
If you don’t want to print labels for ALL of the addresses in your list (perhaps someone is on the “Naughty Step” this year), use the Mail Merge Recipients box to select only the entries that you want to print onto your labels.
If you are using a Built-in Template or a New Template you have made yourself, the placeholder “«Next Record»” will now appear in all of the cells in your template (except for the top left cell).
If you are using an Existing Template, you will need to manually add these placeholders yourself: left click once inside the second cell, click on the “Rules” button, and select “Next Record” from the list. You can repeat this for each cell OR copy this first placeholder and paste it into the remaining cells.
STEP 4: ARRANGE YOUR LABELS
Design your labels! You can choose to simply add the addresses from your list to your labels OR you can give your labels an extra special finishing touch by adding your own words and images for a truly personalised set of Christmas labels.
You should design your labels in the top left cell; once you’re happy with the layout, you can click on the “Update all labels” button, which will copy your design into all of the remaining cells.
If you are using an Existing Template you won’t see this button and you will need to copy and paste your design into the remaining cells yourself – remember to make sure that the “Next Record” placeholder is at the start of each new cell so that, when you complete the merge, each label is printed with information from the next entry in your list (rather than printing the same information on every label).
Likewise if you’re trying to create different designs on one sheet of labels, you’ll need to copy and paste the different design elements yourself, so that each label is printed with the specific design you want.
Word offers a number of tools to help design your labels, including:
“Address Block” will match the fields in your spreadsheet with the elements usually included in an address.
Check the “preview pane” to make sure that Word has chosen the correct fields and put them in the right order. If any of the matches are wrong, click “Match Fields” to select which field should be used for which element in the address block. This will add “«Address Block»” as a placeholder, while you complete your design.
“Greeting Line” will allow you to personalise labels with a name and a greeting; for example, you could add “Happy Christmas” to your design and use the “Greeting Line” tool to add each recipient’s name (e.g. Dear First Name).
Check the “preview pane” to make sure that Word has chosen the correct fields and put them in the right order. If any of the matches are wrong, click “Match Fields” to select which field should be used. This will add “«Greeting Line»” as a placeholder, while you complete your design.
More Items / Field Placeholders
If you’re writing your own text and want to be able to specify that a specific field should be added in a specific place, use the More Items or Field Placeholders options to choose which fields from your database you want to include and exactly where you want them to appear. To insert a Field Placeholder, click on “Insert Merge Fields” and select the field that you want to add.
STEP 5: PREVIEW YOUR LABELS
Double check that the right bit of information is going in the right place on your labels and that everything looks about right.
STEP 6: COMPLETE THE MERGE
Select “Print” to choose your printer and printer settings. Remember: to get the best possible print on labels you should use the media bypass tray (if your printer has one) and select a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting (where available).
We strongly recommend doing a test print of the first page only BEFORE you go ahead and print all of your labels. This way you can double check that everything is going to print as and where it’s supposed to – without wasting a chunk of your labels (not to mention time and toner/ink).
REUSING YOUR MERGED TEMPLATE
- If you save your merged template to use again, remember that it is still linked to your list of addresses. You need to keep both files safe for the mail merge to keep working.
- You can relink your template and your list of addresses (or link your template to a new list) by clicking on Mailings and choosing "Select Recipients".
- If you update your list of addresses, those changes will only appear the next time you open your label template.
- To print, click on Mailings and select "Finish & Merge" to view all of the print options available. If you try to use the normal method of printing (File > Print), you will only be able to print the one page of labels that appears on your screen.