Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Label Planet: Template Tips - Printing Labels From A Database Using Mail Merge

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If you want to create labels for an existing database of contacts or product details but don’t want to enter the information for each one manually, then the easiest way to do this is to use Word’s “Mail Merge” tool.

This tool will allow you to merge the data in your database with a label template; you can choose one of the built-in Avery templates, set up a new template, or open an existing template (for example, if you've downloaded a template from our website).

If you’re not certain of the process, the best thing to do is to use the Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard, which will guide you through each step. Alternatively, if you already know how to go about completing a mail merge, you can do the steps yourself.

Here’s a quick guide on how to complete a Mail Merge using the Step By Step Wizard.
Select “Mailings”, click on “Start Mail Merge”, and select “Step By Step Mail Merge Wizard”.

STEP 1: DOCUMENT TYPE
Select “Labels” as your Document Type.

STEP 2: STARTING DOCUMENT
- To use a compatible Avery template:
Click on “Label Options”, select “Avery A4/A5” as the Label vendor, and choose the relevant code from the list.
- To create your own template:
Click on “Label Options”, and then select “New Label”. Fill in the required fields with the relevant measurements to create a template to match your labels.
- To use an existing template:
Select “Start from existing document” and click “Open” to locate the existing template you want to use.

STEP 3: SELECT RECIPIENTS
Select “Use an existing list”, then click “Browse” to locate your database file.

If you are using an excel spreadsheet, the “Select Table” box may show multiple options – these are the tabs in your spreadsheet so you will need to select the one that you want to use.

If you only want to create labels for a specific set of entries within your database, you can use the Mail Merge Recipients box to filter your data and select only the entries that you want to print.

STEP 4: ARRANGE YOUR LABELS
This step is where you enter the text you want to print on your labels; you can choose to create labels using only the text in your database (for example, if you’re printing plain address labels you will only need to use the address details from your database) or to add additional text along with field placeholders, which will be filled in with the relevant data from your database when you complete your merge.

There are a number of ways to design your labels:
ADDRESS BLOCK: this is the best tool to use if you’re printing address labels. If you find that not all of your fields are displaying correctly in the preview pane, click on “Match Fields” and match the fields in your database with the default elements contained in the Address Block.

GREETING LINE: if you’re writing a message to the recipient of each labelled item, you can use this tool to personalise each label with the recipient’s name.

MORE ITEMS: use the “More Items” option to select the fields from your database that you want to print onto your labels.
For example, if you are printing product labels using a database of product details, you can select the fields containing the information you want to include on the labels and insert them into your template.

FIELD PLACEHOLDERS: alternatively, you can simply type in the text you want and insert field placeholders where needed. To insert a field placeholder, click on “Insert Merge Fields” and select the field that you want to enter.

You should design your labels in the top left cell and then use “Update all labels” to copy your design into the rest of the cells.

[If you have opted to use an existing template, you will not have the “Update all labels” option. You will need to copy and paste your text into each cell yourself. You will also need to enter a “Next Record” rule at the start of each cell (except for the top left cell) so that when you complete the merge, each cell will be printed with the information from the next entry in your database.

To insert a “Next Record” rule, click in the second cell, click on the “Rules” button, and select “Next Record” from the list. You don’t have to repeat this for each cell; you can simply copy and paste the "Next Record" rule placeholder into the remaining cells.]

STEP 5: PREVIEW YOUR LABELS
Check that your design and layout work properly and that the correct bit of information is added onto each of the labels in the correct position.

STEP 6: COMPLETE THE MERGE
Select “Print” to choose your printer and set your print settings (remember, if your printer has a specific “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” setting, you should use this to improve the print quality you get when printing onto labels).

We strongly recommend doing a test print of the first page ONLY before you print the whole lot. Many people use Mail Merge because they have a database of hundreds, if not thousands, of entries and it can turn out to be a very costly mistake if you print them all without doing a quick test print first.

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