In addition to all the “techie” stuff that I do, I’m also the Membership Secretary for a national road transport modelling group & each quarter a full colour, A5 sized printed magazine goes out to all members. As I have the contact details, I produce the address labels that go onto the envelopes. Recently, I’ve had problems when printing these address labels as some of the print spilled over either onto other labels or onto the dividing border between labels. Needless to say, in addition to throwing some labels away, I got frustrated with having to feed the label really, really carefully through the printer. So, I found a way round the problem!

Producing the labels

From a blank Word document, I selected the Mailings Tab, Start Mail Merge & then selected Labels.

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You’re then prompted to select the label that you want…

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As an extra tip, when buying labels, ensure that it has an Avery-style code number on it as that way you can simply select the code number & off you go, rather than having to create your own label

Clicking OK fills your document with your new (blank) labels

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Now you need to populate them with data…

Completing the merge

Again, from the Mailings Tab, select Select Recipients & then, if you have an existing list (as I do for my membership list, select Use an Existing List

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… and you’re then prompted to link to your list… you have a window that looks very Windows Explore-like so it’s a case of going & finding the list & when you’ve selected the Workbook, you’ll see something like…

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This is telling me that in my Workbook, I have a Sheet named “Practice Contacts”, so I select that sheet & click OK

This doesn’t actually seem to do much from the Word screen…

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There’s some code to tell Word to select the next record, however more buttons have now become active. Using the Insert Merge Field (because in some ways, I’m old fashioned J) to populate the first label…

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The first field is in place & now it’s a case of selecting each of the others that I want in place…

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… but this is only for the first label, I now need to choose Update Labels to populate the remainder of the document. A tip is rather than simply using the <ENTER> key to go to a new line, hold down the <SHIFT> key at the same time. This not only reduces the gap between the fields, it will also come in useful later

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Previewing the results

Clicking the Preview Results button turns the code into the “real” information from your database (ps, I make no apologies for my taste in music!)

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However, as you can see, the names & addresses start very close to the edge of the actual label & any slipping as the physical label goes through the printer means there’s a risk that the label won’t print correctly which was the frustration that I mentioned right at the start.

Moving the starting point for printing

When you select any of the labels, up on the Ruler, you’ll see two little squared off triangles and a square…

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As you move between columns the pair of icons for that column appear. They’re actually the markers for indentation; the top triangle for the First Line & the bottom triangle for a hanging indent and the bottom square for a left indent.

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Selecting each of the columns that have data in them (move your mouse to the top of the column where it turns to a thick black arrow pointing down, click with left mouse button to select, let go of mouse button, hold down CTRL key & then click on the other columns & this will select them all)

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You can then use the Left Indent button (Click & hold with left mouse button) to drag slightly to the right increasing the gap between the label edge & the start of the text…

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Now your labels will print off without going over the edge of the label & save you lots of frustration, let alone paper!

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