Holiday Card Labels!


It’s that time of year.  One of the most frequent requests I get is how to print labels.  Some people do it every year, but then they forget.  If you only do it once a year I can see how that would happen.

Here’s a quick step by step if you have a Mac and Office 2011.

I have my list in an Excel worksheet (like a lot of you, I know).  I have it separated the following ways:  Column A is “Last Name”, Column B is “First Name”, Column C is “Address”, D is “City”, E is “State” and F is “Zip”.  This doesn’t matter as much as you will choose what goes where on the label. Save and close the Excel worksheet.

Open Word.  Click on “tools” then “mail merge manager”.  From there you select “document type” where you choose labels.  Here is where you pick which label.  I usually use Avery 5160 but you can choose whichever one you like, it will tell you the “template” on the label package.

A table appears. Don’t make any adjustments to the table or click in the table. The insertion cursor should be blinking in the upper-leftmost cell, which will be the only empty cell in the table. You may have to drag the bottom scroll bar to see the blinking cursor. Section 1 of Mail Merge Manager now displays the name of the Main Document and which type of merge you’re performing.

In the Mail Merge Manager, click “Select Recipients List” and then choose “Get List→Open Data Source”.
Navigate to the Excel workbook you’re using as the data source and click “Open”.
Select the worksheet or range that has the names and addresses for the data source, and then click OK.
Your Word mail merge document is now linked to the worksheet or data range data source in the Excel workbook. The Edit Labels dialog appears.


This is where you line up the fields where you want.

Click “OK” to close the Edit Labels dialog.
You return to your Word document, and your table grid is now filled with a whole bunch of field names in chevrons. Step 3 of Mail Merge Manager opens, but don’t use anything from Mail Merge Manager Step 3 because the Edit Labels dialog takes care of inserting placeholders when making mail merge labels. Step 2 of Mail Merge Manager now shows the filename of the data source document.

In the Mail Merge Manager, click Preview Results.
Then click Complete Merge.


Windows users it is very similar (

Step 1: Set up your mailing list

The mailing list can be an Excel spreadsheet, a directory of Outlook contacts, an Access database, or an Office address list. It contains the records Word pulls information from to build the addresses for the labels.

If you don’t yet have a mailing list, you can create a new list in Word during mail merge.

If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet, make sure the column for ZIP Codes or postal codes is formatted as text so that you don’t lose any zeros. For more information, see Prepare your Excel data source for a Word mail merge.

If you want to use your Outlook contacts, make sure Outlook is your default email program.

Step 2: Prepare the main document for the labels

In Word, choose File > New > Blank Document.

On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, choose Start Mail Merge > Labels.

Click Start Mail Merge and choose Labels to create a sheet of labels to merge to.

In the Label Options dialog box, under Label Information, choose your label supplier in the Label vendors list.

Label vendor and product number options

In the Product number list, choose the number that matches the product number on your package of labels.

NOTE: If you’re using a continuous-feed printer, you’ll have a different list of product numbers. Be sure to choose Continuous-feed printers under Printer information to see the relevant list.

Choose OK.

Your document should display the dimension and shape of your chosen labels. If it doesn’t, on the Layout tab, in the Table group, choose View Gridlines.

A page of blank labels in Word 2016

Step 3: Link your mailing list to your labels

On the Mailings tab, in the Start Mail Merge group, choose Select Recipients, and then choose one of the following:

Type a New List command

If you don’t have a mailing list, choose Type a New List and create one.


If your mailing list is in an Excel spreadsheet, an Access database, or another type of data file, choose Use an Existing List. Then browse to your list and choose Open.


If you’re using your Outlook contacts, choose Choose from Outlook Contacts.

Do one of the following:

To make labels for your entire mailing list, go to “Step 4: Add the addresses to the labels.”


To make labels for only some of the names in your list, on the Mailings tab, choose Edit Recipient List.

As part of Word mail merge, on the Mailings tab, in the Start Merge Group, choose Edit Recipient List.

In the Mail Merge Recipients box, choose the names you want to add to your labels.

Select rows by checking the check box

NOTE: You can also sort or filter the list to make finding names and addresses easier.

Step 4: Add the addresses to the labels

The address block is a mail merge field. Also known as a placeholder, you use the merge field to mark the place where you want addresses to appear on the label.

On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Address Block.

As part of Word mail merge, on the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Address Block.

In the Insert Address Block dialog box, choose a format for the recipient’s name as it will appear on the label.

Address block options

NOTE: Choose Preview Results, and then choose the Next Next record button for mail merge preview results record button or choose the Previous Previous record button for mail merge preview results record button to move through records in your data source and view how an address will appear on the label.

Choose OK.

TIP: To change how your address block is aligned on the labels, choose the address block, and on the Home tab. in the Paragraph group, choose Align Left, Center, Align Right, or Justify.

In the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Update Labels to apply the change to each label.

Click the Update Labels button on the Ribbon to apply changes across the entire sheet of labels.
NOTE: If you don’t see your addresses, choose Preview Results.

Verify merge field names

Make sure Word finds the names and addresses in your mailing list.

On the Mailings tab, in the Write & Insert Fields group, choose Match Fields.

In the Match Fields box, the column on the left are the field names that Word uses in an Address Block. The column on the right lets you match up fields in your data source to those field names. Verify that the field names that appear on the left side match the names of column headings for records in your mailing list so Word can put the correct data in the correct place on your label.

Match Fields dialog box
Do one of the following:

If the field names shown match column headings you used for records in your mailing list data source, do nothing.


If (not matched) appears in a field name that you expected to match a column heading in your data source, choose the drop-down arrow, and then choose the field name in your mailing list data source. Repeat as necessary.

Choose OK.

Step 5: Preview and print the labels

Do a final check before you print the labels.

On the Mailings tab, choose Preview Results.

In Word, on the Mailings tab, the Preview Results group.

Choose the Next Next record button for mail merge preview results record button or the Previous Previous record button for mail merge preview results record button to make sure the names and addresses on all the labels look right.

Choose Finish & Merge > Print Documents.

Screenshot of the Mailings tab in Word, showing the Finish & Merge command and its options.

Step 6: Save your labels document

When you save the mail merge document, it stays connected to your mailing list so that you can use it for your next bulk mailing. Next time you open the mail merge document, choose Yes when Word prompts you to keep the connection.

To change the addresses for the labels in the mail merge document

Open the mail merge document for labels and choose Edit Recipient List to sort, filter, and choose specific addresses.

Now get those holiday cards out!

Happy Holidays!

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