Excel is an incredibly handy tool for organizing a mailing list, but it's not so great when it comes to actually printing the labels. Typing out all of the information you have already entered would be time-consuming – but thankfully you can have your cake and eat it too. Today we'll be showing you how to make and print address labels from Excel with a little help from Microsoft Word and the mail merge feature.
Printing Labels From Excel is Easy
Though Excel's built-in functionality isn't great for label making, the beauty of the Microsoft Office suite is its cross-compatibility. If you have both applications installed, you can quickly and automatically import the data from your Excel spreadsheet into Word and have it displayed in an organized manner for printing.
It's worth noting two things before we start. Firstly, though the tutorial will focus on address labels, it can be modified to work with any label. Secondly, you will have to set your columns up properly in Excel to make this as seamless as possible. We'll discuss this in the first step:
How to Prepare Your Mailing List in Excel to Print Labels With Mail Merge
Before diving into the Mail Merge process, your Excel spreadsheet needs to be properly prepared. This involves organizing your data with clear, concise column headers and ensuring each row contains accurate data for each label.
- Set Up Column Headers
Ensure your Excel sheet has clear, descriptive column headers corresponding to label fields (e.g., First Name, Last Name, Address). This aids in accurately mapping data in Word.
For example, in our example, we'll be using the fields property name, operator name, address, city, state, zip code, and country. If you're using your labels for a mailing list, you may want to include heading labels like first name, last name, and title.
Tip: Use consistent naming conventions and avoid special characters in headers to prevent merge errors.
Organize Your Data
Each row should represent one label's information, ensuring no blank rows or columns disrupt the data set.
Best Practice: Regularly check and clean your data for duplicates, incomplete entries, or errors to maintain accuracy.
- Format Data Properly
Pay special attention to data types, especially for fields like Zip Code or Phone Number. Ensure they are formatted correctly (e.g., ‘Text' format for Zip Codes to preserve leading zeros).
Tip: Use Excel's data validation feature to maintain data integrity.
- Save Your Excel File Once your data is organized and checked, save the Excel file. It's recommended to keep this file accessible for future label printing tasks.
How to Mail Merge Labels from Excel to Word
- Select ‘Start Mail Merge' > ‘Labels'
Open the “Mailings” tab of the Word ribbon and select “Start Mail Merge > Labels…”. The mail merge feature will allow you to easily create labels and import data to them from a spreadsheet application.
- Select your label options and press “OK”
- Select Recipients Press “Mailings > Select Recipients > Use an Existing List…”
- Browse to your mailing list file, select it, and press “Open”
- Select your sheet name, tick “First row of data contains column headers” and press “OK”
- Insert Address Block Open the “Mailings” tab in your Word ribbon and click “Address Block”.
- Press “Match Fields…” in the “Insert Address Block” window
- In the “Required for Address Block” section, match the fields to your column names
- Check the preview in the “Insert Address Block” window and check the preview
- Check whether “AddressBlock” appears in your first label
- If it does, open the “Mailings” tab again and press the green “Update labels” button
- Perform your final mail merge
- Tick “All” in the “Merge to New Document” window and press “OK”
- Print your address labels
With all of your addresses imported, you can finally print your labels and send off your mail. Remember to save the document in case you need to reprint any of them.
Before printing on your actual label sheets, print a test page on standard paper to check the alignment and formatting. Adjust as needed.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Printing Labels with Excel
Can I automate the mail merge process to save time for future label printing?
While the mail merge process requires some manual steps, you can streamline future tasks by saving your Word document template and Excel data file. Next time, you'll only need to update the Excel file and re-run the mail merge in your saved Word template.
How do I handle special characters or foreign languages in my labels?
Ensure your Excel and Word files support the encoding for special characters or foreign languages. Use Unicode fonts in both applications, and double-check the data display in Word's preview before finalizing the merge.
Is it possible to merge data from multiple Excel columns into one label field in Word?
Yes, you can combine data from multiple Excel columns into a single label field in Word by using the “Insert Merge Field” option in the “Mailings” tab. Manually add and format these fields in your label template as needed.
How can I adjust the spacing between labels if they're too close or too far apart?
In Word's label options, you can adjust the row and column sizes, as well as the margins between labels, to ensure proper spacing. These adjustments can help if your labels are not aligning well with your label sheets.
What's the best way to manage large mailing lists for label printing?
For large mailing lists, maintain your Excel file with structured data, use filters to manage subsets of your list, and regularly update and clean your data. Consider breaking down your list into smaller segments for easier handling during the mail merge process.
Can I use custom label sizes that are not listed in Word's label options?
Yes, if your label size is not listed, you can create a custom label size in Word. Go to “Labels,” select “Options,” and then choose “New Label” to enter your custom label dimensions.
How do I print different addresses on each label rather than repeating the same address?
The mail merge process inherently prints different data (e.g., addresses) from each row in your Excel file onto individual labels. Ensure each row in Excel contains unique data for each label.
Can I select specific rows from my Excel file to print, rather than the entire sheet?
Yes, during the “Select Recipients” step in Word, you can filter or sort the list to include only specific rows from your Excel file, allowing you to print labels for a selected subset of your data.
How do I ensure my labels are eco-friendly and sustainable?
Choose labels made from recycled materials or certified by environmental organizations. Also, print only the labels you need to minimize waste, and recycle any test sheets or misprints.
What should I do if my printer doesn't align labels correctly even after adjustments?
Check your printer settings to ensure they match the label sheet specifications and adjust the printer's alignment or feed settings. Sometimes, selecting the “Labels” media type in the printer properties can improve alignment.
Is it possible to do a mail merge for labels in Google Docs or Sheets?
Google Docs and Sheets offer add-ons and scripts that enable similar mail merge functionalities. However, the process and features differs from Microsoft's Office suite.
How can I secure my data when sharing the Excel file with others for label printing?
Consider password-protecting your Excel file, anonymizing sensitive data, or using secure sharing platforms. Limit access to those who require it for the task.
Can I track the version history of my Excel file used for mail merge?
If you store your Excel file on a platform that supports versioning (like SharePoint or OneDrive), you can track changes and revert to previous versions if needed.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when setting up a mail merge for labels?
Common mistakes include not formatting data correctly in Excel, overlooking the step to include column headers, and failing to match Excel fields to Word's label template properly. Double-check each step for accuracy.
Extra: How to Combine Text Cells in Excel
If you've spent much time in Excel, you'll know the pain that comes with creating a large spreadsheet, only to realize it needs adjusting. Thankfully, though, this doesn't always need to be time-consuming. You can use the concatenate command to combine text cells in Excel without data loss.
Extra: How to Make a Page Landscape in Word
Most of the time when you create a Word document, you want it in either landscape or portrait. Sometimes, though, you want a single page landscape – to display an image for example. Doing so, however, isn't as easy as you might expect. As a result, we're going to show you how to make one page landscape in Word using a couple of tricks.