Are you getting ready to send out holiday cards to your family, friends, or customers? Or maybe you’re sending birth or graduation announcements instead. You already have a big Excel mailing list, so how do you get the information from Excel onto mailing labels? Read more about how to make Christmas card labels in this lesson below!
How To Make Your Own Christmas Card Labels
Create Christmas Card Labels with Usable List in Table Format
First, your Excel list needs to be in a usable format. When you “merge” your data into Word, each column in Excel becomes a “field” that Word can use exactly as it is in your spreadsheet. For example, I call may call my aunt “Aunt Betty,” but her mail is addressed to “Mrs. Elizabeth Smith.” In my spreadsheet, I have a column called “Envelope Name” which is separate from the “Name” or “Relationship” columns. That’s okay. We will tell Excel which columns to use and which to ignore.
For today’s lesson, create this “Mail List” spreadsheet and save it. Later you may customize it or use your list. By having a separate last name column, I can sort alphabetically by the last name. I keep the city, state, and zip code in separate columns so that I can filter my list by state.
Format your list as a table, and add a Totals Row. Instead of a “Total” though, use the “=COUNTA()” formula which counts cells that have something typed inside. Short-cut: Remove the word “Total,” then click the drop-down arrow in your Totals Row, and select “Count.”
You MUST save your Excel spreadsheet before you set up the mailing labels in Word, so keep and exit Excel.
Start Word’s Mail Merge
The process you are learning today is called “Mail Merge” because we are merging mail list information from Excel into Word. Open a blank Word document and save it as “Mailing Labels.”
Click on the Mailings tab. See the “Labels” button on the left? That’s NOT what we want today. Instead, go to:
- Mailings tab>Start Mail Merge section>Start Mail Merge drop-down arrow
All those options: Letters, Envelopes, Labels, even E-mail for Outlook only! The same Mail Merge procedure works in all those formats. Today, choose Labels, and the Label Options window will appear.
At this point, you will need to grab your actual box of labels. Every box of labels is slightly different. The standard for mailing labels is a product called Avery 5160: 30 mailing labels to a sheet.
In my lesson, I’ll be using Avery 5160s, but you use your labels. Using the drop-down menus in the “Labels Window,” scroll to the company that makes your labels, then scroll to the product number. Click “OK.”
Your blank page is still a blank page, but a new tab appears on the menus called “Table Tools.”
- On Table Tools>Layout>click View Gridlines
So you can see all a faint outline for each label.
Now we must tell Word where to find our Excel mailing list.
- On the Mailings tab>Start Mail Merge section>Select Recipients drop-down arrow>Use an Existing List
Excel will open a “Select Data Source window.” Just like in File Explorer, point to the Mailing List spreadsheet we just created, and click “Open.”
The Select Table window will appear and point to the “Mailing List” table we created in Excel.
When you click OK, Word gets your labels ready and creates a “Next Record” command in all but the top label. In the top label, Word is looking at the first row or “record” of our Excel table and waiting to see which columns or “fields” to use.
Insert Merge Field
- On the Mailings tab>Write & Insert Fields section>click the Insert Merge Field drop-down.
Each of our Excel columns shows up as an available field to “merge” into our labels. Click on “Envelope_Name” and Word places <<Envelope_Name>> at the top of our label.
Now press Enter to go to the next line and “Insert Merge Field>Address. “
Press “Enter” again, and “Insert Merge Field>City.” This time, instead of pressing enter, add a comma “,” and press the space bar to put a comma and space between the “City” and “State.” Now add the state field, two spaces, and the zip field. Whatever you type between fields, such as “Enter,” spaces or commas, will show up in your label.
Now is the time to change your font, its color or size or center the address on the labels. Some street names or city names are very long, so remember to use a font that will fit! Expert tip: borrow a dark color and font style from your cards, keeping it legible for the post office sorting equipment.
The fields are formatted and ready! It’s time to create all the labels.
- Click Mailings tab>Write & Insert Fields>Update Labels
To see your actual names and addresses instead of the fields, click:
- Mailings tab>Preview Results>Preview Results
This is a toggle button that will show your fields or the results as you click it off and on. Scroll around the page. Does everything fit? Make your changes to the top left the label, then click:
- Mailings tab>Write & Insert Fields>Update Labels
You can also use “Ctrl-A” to “Select All” before you make any changes.
Select Recipients or Filter
Do you only want to send out cards to certain recipients? Here’s how:
- Mailings tab>Start Mail Merge section>click Edit Recipient List
The Mail Merge Recipients window pops up. Any labels you uncheck, will not be printed. You may drag a column like City or State next to the name to make it easier. You can use filtering or sorting, very similar to an Excel table. For today, uncheck the last line with is our label count, then click “OK.”
“Finish & Merge” to Print
Always print a practice sheet on plain paper before printing out a full sheet of costly labels. With paper in your printer, click:
- Mailings tab>Finish section>Finish & Merge drop-down>Print Documents
On the Merge to Printer window, select the first thirty or fewer records to print on your test paper. In the screenshot, I chose to print records “1 to 20” even though I only have six.
Now take one sheet of labels and hold it up to the light with your printed practice sheet to be sure they line up. If they line up, load your labels in your printer, and print “All” labels in the “Merge to Printer” window. If they don’t line up, double-check your brand and label number or try tweaking the margins a bit.
Save your Word Document
After all your careful work, be sure to save your Word document. If Aunt Betty moves, change her address on your Excel list and save it. The next time you open your Word mailing labels, Word will ask if you want to use the same Excel spreadsheet. Say, “Yes,” and Word will update the labels!
Are you excited to send out your personal Christmas Card Labels? What did you like about this lesson? Let us know in the comment box below!