Mail Merge is a very useful function that will produce a list from your email address book that you can export to labels or envelopes and on to your printer. You will need to populate your Outlook or Windows address book with the necessary details for it to be of any use (name, street, town, postcode etc), but once you get into the habit you will find it very valuable indeed. It can be a little bit tricky to get right and it will differ depending on what programs you are using to produce your address lists etc, so I will first explain the basic principles and you can hopefully apply this to whatever programs you use. First you need to export your email address book into a table format which you will normally do from the ‘file’ ‘export’ menu option within your email program (outlook or Widows Mail). Choose the ‘comma separated value’ option which should create a spreadsheet containing a list of all your email addresses and extra details. This can be then be imported into Word (or Writer) using the ‘tools’ ‘letters and mailings’ menu option. You will need to spend a bit of time experimenting with this but patience is the name of the game here. Assuming you are using Word 2002 or later then the following is a more detailed description:
- Click on the Tools item on the menu bar
- Select Letters and Mailing
- From the sub menu, select Mail Merge Wizard
When you click on Mail Merge Wizard, the following box will appear:
We’re going to set up a label merge, so click on the Labels item to select it.
Then click on Next at the bottom:
In the next step of the Wizard we want to Change document layout. Select this option and then click on Label Options:
The next box that appears is rather more complex. But you’re just setting the size for your labels. Labels tend to come in standard sizes. Click a label in the box, and you’ll see information about the Height and Width of the labels that will be printed.
Select your Label size, and then click OK. You’ll still be on Step 2 of the Wizard, so click Next: Select recipients at the bottom:
Step three of the Wizard is where you set up the people whose names and addresses will appear on your labels.
Click on Type a new list, and then click on Create to set up your list of people. When you do, you’ll get yet another box popping up. This one:
Type the name and address of a person that will appear on your label. Then click New Entry. The textboxes will go blank, ready for you to type the details of your second name and address.
When you have typed out all the names and addresses, you’ll be glad to know that you can save them all. Click close, and Word will give you the Save Address List dialogue box:
The type of file you are saving is an MDB file. This is a Microsoft Database file. Once your list is saved, you could actually open this up in Microsoft Access. But just click Save, and all your names and address will be saved to disk.
When you click Save, you get quite a complex dialogue box popping up. This one:
This is a list of all the names and address that will appear on your labels. If you don’t want somebody to appear, click on a tick. This will take the tick away, and the person will not appear in the Merge.
If you wanted to, you could sort your list. Click on a down arrow (of Last Name perhaps), then click Advanced. Click the Filter and Sort tab at the top:
Here, the Last Name is being sorted in Ascending order. Click OK.
To get to next step of the wizard, click on Next: Arrange your Labels:
In the next step of the Wizard, you are putting the Merge information on the page:
Click Address block, and another dialogue box appears. Select the format you want for your address, then click OK. When you get back to the step 4 Wizard, click the Update all Labels button at the bottom:
Click Next: Preview your labels to continue.
You will then see what your labels will look like on the page. If you like the look, click the final step: Complete the merge:
In the final step, you can either print your labels out straight away, or Edit individual labels.
Click on Edit individual labels. When you do, you get this box appearing:
Click on All, and then OK. Your labels will then appear in a new document. You can then make any changes you want before printing.